Belarus: European Parliament (EP) votes urgency resolution on the situation in Belarus

The resolution of 6 April 2017 condemned the crackdown on peaceful protesters and the undue restrictions on the right of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of association, most particularly, the harassment and detention of independent journalists, opposition members, human rights activists and other protesters. The EP called for the immediate and unconditional release and dropping of all judicial charges against all peaceful protesters, journalists, human rights defenders, civil society activists and opposition members detained in connection with the current wave of demonstrations. The resolution also called for the renewal of the UN Special Rapporteur’s mandate on the human rights situation in Belarus and for the EEAS to better coordinate the EU’s policy towards Belarus with the Rapporteur. The EP further decried Belarus as the only country in Europe still to carry out capital punishment.

FIDH and its member organisation, Human Rights Center ‘Viasna’ provided extensive information used in the resolution, namely their report on Forced Labour and Pervasive Violations of Workers’ Rights in Belarus, the recent arrests of peaceful protesters and unlawful detentions in Belarus, the conviction of two members of Human Rights Center ‘Viasna’ and the Head of the Human Rights Center ‘Legal Assistance to the Population’, the raid on their offices on March 25, and updated facts and figures concerning the crackdown that led to multiple arrests and court rulings. FIDH also accompanied human rights defenders from its member organisation Viasna, the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus, and the mother of Uladzislau Kavaliou (executed in 2012) last February in Brussels, presenting their report Death Penalty in Belarus: Murder on (Un)Lawful Grounds to key EU actors.

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