PACE-Belarus: a positive trend undermined by the recent escalation of violence

The Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy has deeply regretted that a positive trend of greater international openness and dialogue between Belarus and the Assembly has been undermined by the recent escalation of violence and harassment against peaceful protesters in the spring of 2017. The Committee has called for the immediate release of still detained opposition activists and for an investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment and intimidation against them.

Adopting a draft resolution, based on a report prepared by Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), the Committee urged the Belarusian authorities to respect and uphold the right to freedom of assembly, association and expression, and it set out a number of recommendations to ensure political pluralism and free and fair elections and a genuine political will on the issue of capital punishment and the administration of justice.

It also proposed that the Assembly continues its activities, including high-level contacts, both with the authorities and with independent civil society. The parliamentarians said the Committee on Political Affairs should step up dialogue with the Belarusian Parliament, independent civil society and opposition political forces not represented in Parliament.