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Belarus: Statement by PACE rapporteur on the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the presidential elections

Kimmo Kiljunen (Finland, SOC)
©Jukka-Pekka Flander / SDP

“The 3rd anniversary of the fraudulent presidential elections of 2020 in Belarus is a moment to mark our solidarity with all those Belarusians who have chosen freedom, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law,” said Kimmo Kiljunen (Finland, SOC), rapporteur on “Call for a national political reform process in Belarus”.

“The regime in Minsk has responded to the peaceful pursuit of democracy with brutal repression that has shown no sign of slowing down. Civil society and free media have been systematically destroyed. The campaign to erase all political opposition continues. More than 1 500 political prisoners are held in inhuman conditions, with health care withheld, communication with their families blocked, and access to lawyers denied.

I use this opportunity to call for the immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners, and for the cessation of repression.

After contesting elections, the place of a politician is in parliament - not in prison.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has called on the authorities in Belarus to fully adhere to the principles of democracy and the rule of law, the respect of human rights, and act in compliance with international law and Belarus’ own commitments. This includes, first and foremost, ceasing its collaboration in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

I hail the resilience, courage and determination of Belarusians who are fighting for democracy to prevail in their country, and the efforts of the Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, the Coordination Council and other opposition figures. I welcome measures taken by Council of Europe member States to support these efforts, and encourage further steps to support Belarusians in exile.”

“The Assembly will continue its efforts to support Belarusian democratic forces and to stand by the people of Belarus for a democratic, independent, sovereign, prosperous and peaceful future,” Mr Kiljunen concluded.