The European Union has said the constitutional referendum held in Belarus on Sunday gives President Lukashenko additional tools to further consolidate his power, and was carried out in a context of widespread human rights violations and brutal repression against all segments of the Belarusian society – “not the conditions for a democratic constitutional review process”, according to a statement by EU High Representative Josep Borrell on 28 February. “The deletion of the reference in Article 18 to Belarus’s non-nuclear status is another worrying element,” he added.
The statement said there were now more than 1,070 political prisoners in Belarus: “The space for genuine public debate is completely closed off, and there is widespread use of deliberate disinformation. In addition, huge numbers of Belarusian citizens have been forced into exile… Moreover, we have seen massive fraud during the past presidential elections and nothing points to improvements in the electoral system.”
The EU condemned the involvement of Belarus in the ongoing aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms, “and we will target those in Belarus who collaborate with the Russian military aggression against Ukraine,” the High Representative said.
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