1389th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers (25 November 2020)
On 12 November, 31-year old Raman Bandarenka died due to serious injuries caused by the brutality of plain clothed policemen. At least three other peaceful protesters died as a result of mistreatment by the authorities since the election. This is an outrageous and shameful result of the actions by the Belarusian authorities who have not only directly and violently carried out repression of their own people, but also created an environment whereby such lawless, violent acts are taking place on a daily basis, thus disregarding the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Belarusian people, including the right to life.
The European Union expresses its deepest condolences to Mr Bandarenka’s and other victims’ families and friends and stands in solidarity with all the Belarusians who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of the Belarusian authorities in the aftermath of the falsified presidential elections.
The European Union continues to strongly condemn the increasing brutality of repressions and violence carried out by Belarusian authorities, directed by Alexander Lukashenko against peaceful protesters. We condemn the acts targeting civil society, independent media, independent labour unions or ordinary citizens in Belarus, such as the launch of mass-scale criminal trials, numerous acts of intimidation as well as confiscation of private property and bank account deposits.
Over more than a hundred days of peaceful civic mobilization, the people of Belarus and the international community witnessed an unprecedented scale of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in this European country. The EU reiterates once again its firm stance that the Belarusian authorities should immediately stop any repression and violence directed against its own people. Instead, they should immediately and unconditionally release all those detained on political grounds and investigate fully and transparently all human rights violations and abuses, including the tragic death of Raman Bandarenka and reported cases of torture and other ill-treatment, and bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice. We also reiterate our call on the Belarusian authorities to engage in a genuine and inclusive national dialogue as the only way forward.
Despite repeated calls from the international community, including the statements issued by the representatives of the Council of Europe and of the European Union, as well as offers by the current and incoming OSCE Chairs to facilitatea a genuine dialogue process in Belarus, the EU regrets that the authorities continuously refuse to engage constructively. We call upon the Belarusian authorities to fully respect the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, which are the core European values enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and other Council of Europe treaties.
The EU will continue to closely monitor the human rights situation in Belarus and stand ready to provide support for efforts leading to a peaceful solution of the crisis.