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Situation in Belarus: recent developments

Resolution 1727 (2010)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 29 April 2010 (16th Sitting) (see Doc. 12223, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mrs Hurskainen; and Doc. 12224, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Pourgourides). Text adopted by the Assembly on 29 April 2010 (17th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly recalls its Resolution 1671 (2009) on the situation in Belarus in which, responding to some improvements in the situation in Belarus and with a view to encouraging further progress, it sets out a new course of engagement and openness in its relations with the authorities of Belarus, while continuing to support the strengthening of Belarusian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society.
2. It also recalls its recommendation to ask the Bureau to lift the suspension of special guest status for the Parliament of Belarus provided that a moratorium on the execution of the death penalty was decreed, and reiterates its conviction that “dialogue can be sustained only through Belarus’ continuous progress towards Council of Europe standards”.
3. With these considerations in mind, the Assembly regrets that recent developments in Belarus show lack of progress towards Council of Europe standards and lack of political will on the part of the authorities of Belarus to embrace Council of Europe values and to make progress towards Council of Europe standards.
4. In particular, the Assembly:
4.1 condemns the executions of Andrei Zhuk and Vasily Yuzepchuk, which were carried out, in March 2010, in conditions of total secrecy and at a time when the United Nations Human Rights Committee had requested a stay in the executions pending its examination of their cases;
4.2 expresses concern at the situation of the Polish minority in Belarus, in particular as regards the repeated harassment of members of the Union of the Poles and the infringement of their rights of association and assembly;
4.3 regrets that the authorities of Belarus did not invite any international observer to monitor the April 2010 local elections;
4.4 although welcoming the renewal for an additional year of the agreement on the Council of Europe Infopoint located in the State University of Minsk, regrets that, despite continuous efforts, the Belarusian authorities have not yet authorised the establishment of the Council of Europe East European School of Political Studies in Belarus.
5. The Assembly remains ready to engage in a progressive dialogue with the authorities of Belarus in response to positive developments. It underscores, however, that there cannot be progress on dialogue without progress towards Council of Europe standards and a clear political commitment by the Belarusian authorities to embrace Council of Europe values, followed up by consistent actions.
6. In the light of recent events, the Assembly, therefore, decides to put on hold its activities involving high-level contacts between the Assembly and the parliament and/or governmental authorities of Belarus.
7. The Assembly will continue to follow closely developments in Belarus.