Delegation of the European Union to Belarus

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The Presidency of the Council issued presidency conclusions on the Gender Action Plan (GAP) III: "An ambitious agenda for gender equality and women's empowerment in EU external action". The text was supported by 24 delegations.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Poilicy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, met on Wednesday morning with a representative of the Belarusian opposition, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Together with the other members of the Belarusian Presidium of the Coordination Council, Ms Tsikhanouskaya will receive the European Parliament’s 2020 Sakharov prize awarded to the Belarusian democratic opposition.

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President, dear Members [of the European Parliament],

Before starting today’s debate, I would like to thank the [European] Parliament for its continuous support in what has been one of my main personal commitments since I took office: the adoption by the Council of the European Union Global Human Rights Sanction Regime (EUGHRSR). I think this is a landmark achievement. It is a first, strong step forward.

Today, the European Commission adopted a €24 million assistance package, which will benefit directly the Belarusian people, in particular civil society, youth and small and medium-sized enterprises, and improve health capacities.

This year we mark Human Rights Day while the whole world is tackling an unprecedented challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. Far from being outdated, the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed in 1948 are more relevant than ever: the universality and indivisibility of human rights is critical in addressing this crisis and in shaping the post-COVID-19 world. “Today it is more important than ever to recall that human rights are universal and indivisible, and that our efforts to defend them can never stop”, said the High Representative Josep Borrell in a declaration on behalf of the European Union.

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Today, the heads of missions of the EU and EU Member States represented in Minsk, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and of the United States of America met with Belarus' Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei.

On 10 December, we celebrate Human Rights Day. This day deserves our attention as it marks the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Today it is more important than ever to recall that human rights are universal and indivisible, and that our efforts to defend them can never stop.

75 years ago, major leaders of the Nazi regime were prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the Nuremberg trials. This paved the way to the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on 9 December 1948, punishing genocide as a crime and setting out the legal basis for action by States to prevent such atrocities.

The legacy of Nuremberg lives on. Since 2002, the International Criminal Court stands as the world’s only permanent, independent court for the investigation and prosecution of the most heinous crimes.

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Good afternoon, today the Council met again and I am happy that we could meet again in person. It makes things easier.

We had, as always, a dense agenda. Let me start with the good news.

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