Committee Resolution 297

2000 Annual Session
Resolution on Belarus
presented by the Committee on the Civilian Dimension of Security
Berlin, 21 November 2000

The Assembly,

Convinced that Belarus has a vocation to join the family of European democracies and regretting that the policies of the current Belarussian Government are an obstacle to the realisation of that objective;

Condemning the intimidation, harassing, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of members of the political opposition and the failure of the Government to account for the disappearance of several opposition leaders;

Concerned with the continued restrictions on freedom of the press and constant threats to non-state newspapers as well as the denial of any meaningful access by the opposition to the state audio visual mass media;

Deeply regretting that the 15 and 29 October parliamentary elections have failed to meet international standards for a free, fair, accountable and transparent poll;

Supporting the constructive role played by international organisations, among others the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament with a view to assisting Belarus to resolve its deep constitutional, political and economic crisis;

URGES the member governments and parliaments of the North Atlantic Alliance:

to step up initiatives to impart to the Belarussian authorities that they are expected to meet all their OSCE commitments in the spheres of human rights and democracy;

to support independent initiatives in view of reinforcing civil society and the NGO sector;

to second the message addressed by the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the European Parliament to the current political leadership for it to engage into a real and meaningful dialogue with the opposition, with a view to resolving the current crisis;

to seek the active support of the Russian Government and Parliament in pressing the Belarussian authorities to put their laws and practices in agreement with OSCE standards;

URGES President Lukashenko and the Government of Belarus:

to restore democracy and the rule of law, as well as to ensure the protection of human rights, the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the mass media, and freedom of economic activity;

to engage the opposition in a meaningful political dialogue;

to immediately release all political prisoners and undertake inquiries to clarify the fate of disappeared persons;

to accept and respect a basic set of criteria for free and democratic elections, including among other factors:

the possibility for all parties to campaign without fear of obstruction or harassment of candidates or their supporters;

the establishment of a democratic electoral code, guaranteeing full transparency of the electoral process and a balanced composition of electoral commissions at local, district and national level;

satisfactory procedures for the access of all political parties to state-controlled media, especially the electronic media;

to agree to substantial improvements in the functions of the parliament in order to give it the nature and character of a democratic institution, able to exercise legislative authority and political control over the government, based on the principle of separation of powers;

to clear the way for the organisation of future elections according to democratic standards;

to improve cooperation with the AMG (Advisory and Monitoring Group) of the OSCE in Minsk and to make full use of its good services.

DECLARES its support for the Belarus democratic opposition, COMMENDS the efforts of the opposition to boycott the illegitimate parliamentary elections, and EXPRESSES its hopes that the citizens of Belarus will soon benefit from true freedom and democracy.