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A democratic future for Belarus

Recommendation 2266 (2024)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 25 January 2024 (6th sitting) (see Doc. 15892 and addendum, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, rapporteur: Mr Kimmo Kiljunen; and oral opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Emanuelis Zingeris). Text adopted by the Assembly on 25 January 2024 (6th sitting).
1. Drawing the Committee of Ministers’ attention to its Resolution 2530 (2024) “A democratic future for Belarus”, the Parliamentary Assembly reiterates its ambition to welcome a future democratic, independent, sovereign, peaceful and prosperous Belarus as a member of the Council of Europe.
2. The Assembly therefore hails the commitment made by the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe in the Reykjavik Declaration to strengthen co-operation with Belarusian human rights defenders, democratic forces, free media and independent civil society, and to pursue the work of the Council of Europe Contact Group on co-operation with representatives of Belarusian democratic forces and civil society. The Assembly fully supports the Contact Group as an institutional platform which enables the Council of Europe, the Belarusian democratic forces and civil society to partner up with a view to promoting a democratic change in Belarus and strengthen the rights of Belarusian people, whether in Belarus or in exile.
3. Condemning the active support by the Lukashenka regime of the Russian Federation in its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, the Assembly welcomes the decision of the Committee of Ministers of 17 March 2022 “to suspend the rights of Belarus to participate as observer or in any other capacity in meetings and activities of the Committee of Ministers, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities or in any subsidiary organs or bodies thereof”.
4. Expressing its solidarity with all those whose lives have been affected by the crimes of the Lukashenka regime, the Assembly states its gravest concern at the systematic deterioration of human rights, rule of law and democratic standards in Belarus since the fraudulent presidential elections of 9 August 2020, a trend which further increased following the Russian Federation’s large-scale aggression against Ukraine.
5. In the light of these considerations, the Assembly believes that the Council of Europe should further strengthen its support for Belarusian democratic forces and civil society while promoting mechanisms to ensure the accountability of the Lukashenka regime.
6. The Assembly therefore calls on the Committee of Ministers to:
6.1 provide political and material support and greater visibility to the Council of Europe Contact Group on co-operation with representatives of Belarusian democratic forces and civil society and its activities;
6.2 hold regular exchanges of views on the situation in Belarus, with the participation of Ms Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, representatives of the United Transitional Cabinet and the Coordination Council;
6.3 step up co-operation with other international organisations, including the European Union, to promote a European perspective for a future democratic Belarus.
7. Furthermore, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
7.1 explore methodologies and initiatives to ensure accountability for the repression in Belarus, through national, regional or international procedures;
7.2 encourage member States to support and contribute to establishing a system of accountability for the crimes and human rights violations committed by the Lukashenka regime.