1381th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers (9 September 2020)
The European Union regrets that the 9 August presidential elections in Belarus, including the pre-electoral campaign, were neither free nor fair. We regret that the elections could not be observed by either an ODIHR/OSCE mission or by the OSCE and Council of Europe Parliamentary Assemblies due to the lack of a timely invitation.
We are alarmed by the post–electoral situation in Belarus, in particular by the unacceptable violence of Belarusian law enforcement against peaceful protesters, including minors and journalists, the drastic limitations imposed on civil society activities and on the freedom of the media, both online and offline, as well as other serious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We urge the Belarusian authorities to refrain from further violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms and to release immediately and unconditionally all unlawfully detained persons, including those detained on political grounds. We also urge them toconduct independent investigations of all cases of "enforced disappearances" and of alleged cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in overcrowded detention centers. All perpetrators of torture and other ill-treatment of those in police custody should be held to account.
The EU welcomes the recent joint statement on Belarus by the President of the Committee of Ministers, President of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and calls on the Belarusian authorities to engage in a genuine and inclusive dialogue with the opposition and a broad representation of civil society. Such a dialogue should be perceived not as a threat, but as an opportunity for Belarus, its sovereignty, stability and development, that will benefit all Belarusian citizens.
The EU rejects any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Belarus. Instead, the EU encourages a multilateral approach, one which could facilitate the dialogue between the authorities and the society in Belarus, for instance within the framework of the OSCE.
Although Belarus is not a member state of the Council of Europe, it is a party to 11 of its treaties and is a member or observer in four of its Partial Agreements and cooperates in the implementation of subsequent Council of Europe Action Plans. The current one is in force for the years 2019-21. In this context, we urge the Belarusian authorities to act in accordance with this Organisation’s core values and principles. We hope that Belarus will be able to make progress on the path of rapprochement with the Council of Europe.
The EU will continue to closely monitor the human rights situation in Belarus. The EU stands ready to provide support for efforts leading to a peaceful solution of the crisis.
The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine.