The presidential elections in Belarus will take place this Sunday, 9 August, and early voting has already started.
During the electoral campaign, the Belarusian people have shown unprecedented political mobilisation in favour of free elections and democracy. The peaceful mobilisation of the society has been met so far with unacceptable further restrictions on freedoms of media and assembly, as well as with detentions of peaceful protesters, domestic observers, journalists and activists.
The country’s sovereignty and independence can only be strengthened by peaceful, free and fair elections. The EU continues to call on the Belarusian authorities to ensure that fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, in line with Belarus’ international commitments, are respected.
The EU appeals to the Belarusian authorities to guarantee the exercise of full political rights of the candidates, to avoid using force against peaceful protesters, to refrain from further detentions of elections observers, peaceful protesters, candidates and members of their teams and immediately release all activists, human rights defenders, bloggers and journalists detained on political grounds.
The EU remains committed to strengthening its engagement with the Belarusian people. We support the independence and sovereignty of Belarus, while human rights and democracy will remain at the forefront of the EU's considerations when shaping its policy towards the country.