European Parliament on the situation in Belarus
“We need to relentlessly address serious breaches of human rights, the lack of basic freedoms and the non-respect of democratic principles – something which is an essential precondition for any deepening of bilateral relations between the EU and Belarus” says Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament in a letter sent to the HFHR.
The letter is a response to the Foundation’s address on the ill-treatment of Ales Belyatsky made in June this year. Ales Belyatsky, a Belarusian human rights activist and the head of the organisation Vesna, was sentenced to four years in a penal colony after Polish and Lithuanian prosecutors had provided the Belarusian authorities with his bank accounts details. Letters sent by the detained activist to his co-workers suggest that he is being persecuted by the penal colony administration (for more information on this matter use this link). In June 2012, the HFHR appealed to the European Parliament to adopt a resolution condemning the actions of Belarusian authorities.
In early July, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the freedom of speech in Belarus. The document contains reference to the case of Ales Belyatsky and points out that Mr Belyatsky has been subjected to “unlawful restrictive measures and pressure from the
penal administration with the clear intention of” identifying him as a “malicious offender violating the colony’s regime”.
“Unfortunately, the deplorable situation of journalists, civil society and political opposition figures continues to be a recurrent theme in our parliamentary work on Belarus” reads the letter to the HFHR. President of the EP Martin Schulz also refers to the case of Andrzej Poczobut who was released from custody this month without charges being filed. Mr Schulz states that the Parliament will take further actions by, among other things, issuing resolutions and statements on the situation in Belarus.
“At the same time, let me thank you for the valuable work of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and other civil society organisations in striving to uphold and defend the universal values of human rights and fundamental freedoms” reads the letter.