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The situation in Belarus

Recommendation 2107 (2017)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 27 June 2017 (22nd Sitting) (see Doc. 14333, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, rapporteur: Mr Andrea Rigoni). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 June 2017 (22nd Sitting).
1. Referring to its Resolution 2172 (2017) on the situation in Belarus, the Parliamentary Assembly, while welcoming greater international openness by the Belarusian authorities, stresses the need to address a number of serious human rights concerns in order to make progress towards the attainment of Council of Europe standards.
2. The Assembly deeply regrets that the positive trend over recent years has been undermined by the recent escalation of mass violence and harassment against peaceful protesters in February and March 2017 and calls on the Committee of Ministers to join the Assembly in:
2.1 condemning the use of administrative detention and harassment to intimidate political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders and ordinary people exercising their right to peaceful protest;
2.2 urging the Belarusian authorities to:
2.2.1 immediately release opposition activists still detained and investigate allegations of ill-treatment and intimidation against them;
2.2.2 continue dialogue with the international community and move towards greater engagement with independent civil society organisations and the political opposition.
3. The Assembly also invites the Committee of Ministers to:
3.1 remain open to the accession of Belarus to Council of Europe instruments open to non-member States for which Belarus has made a formal request and help it to bring its legislation in line with Council of Europe standards;
3.2 continue engaging with the Belarusian authorities with a view to implementing the Council of Europe Action Plan for Belarus, paying special attention to the issue of the death penalty;
3.3 encourage the authorities, non-governmental organisations and independent civil society representatives to take an active role in the implementation of the action plan;
3.4 encourage its intergovernmental committees to organise meetings, seminars and conferences in Belarus;
3.5 consider setting up a Council of Europe office in Minsk in the near future, with a view to enhancing the impact of its activities in the country.