The authorities of Belarus should take tangible and significant steps toward ensuring adherence to democratic norms in the country to create a potential for positive development in bilateral relations, according to joint comments issued on 8 June by the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus together with the diplomatic missions of the EU Member States in Belarus and the Embassies of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Japan. The statement follows the meeting of the heads of diplomatic missions with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei.
The diplomats noted to Makei that the crisis in Belarus is escalating: the persecution of the opposition, media, civil society, and society at large, including the Polish community in Belarus, has increased. They also called on authorities to respond to the Belarusians people’s demands to:
– immediately halt the persecution of all persons engaged in the pro-democracy movement, independent media and civil society; demonstrate respect for the freedoms of opinion, expression and assembly;
– immediately cease arbitrary detentions, torture, and inhumane treatment of peaceful protesters and political prisoners;
– immediately release and rehabilitate all political prisoners and those unjustly detained;
– without delay, investigate human rights violations and prosecute those who authorised and perpetrated acts of violence, torture, inhumane treatment and unlawful actions that have resulted in injuries, trauma, loss of life, as well as in the general environment of lawlessness in the country;
– start a credible and inclusive political process resulting in free and fair elections under the OSCE/ODIHR’s observation.
The heads of missions also called upon the host-country authorities to refrain from actions impeding the ability of the diplomatic community in Belarus, and shared their expectations that the Belarusian side would allow the Lithuanian, Polish, Latvian, UK, and US colleagues who had been asked to leave the country to return to Belarus.
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