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A Strong Europe is Important for Belarusians


Ahead of the European Parliament Elections

These days, elections sweep across the European Union, heralded as historic, pivotal, and decisive. We, Belarusians, recognize their profound significance for us as well.

For decades, and with a sense of urgency that has only intensified since 2020, the Belarusian people have been engaged in a struggle for the fundamental right to live in a democratic and independent state. Our fight is for freedom, for the unwavering respect for human rights – essentially, for the very foundational values upon which the European Union has been built.

These are not mere aspirations; they are European values that resonate deeply within us. These values are what define us as Europeans, despite the incredibly challenging and often perilous internal political and geopolitical circumstances that currently grip Belarus and its people. We firmly believe that a strong Europe, characterized by robust and principled institutions, is essential to supporting the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people and all Europeans. A strong and united Europe is not solely about your future; it is inextricably intertwined with our own destiny.

Today, we find ourselves confronting a wave of relentless repression. Thousands of Belarusian citizens are unjustly imprisoned, languishing in the deplorable conditions of Lukashenko's prisons, subjected to torture, and denied basic human dignity. Over 300,000 Belarusians have been forced into exile, driven from their homes and their homeland, unable to live in their own country due to the fear of persecution. In the face of such adversity, we, the people of Belarus, are in dire need of true allies – nations who possess the courage and conviction to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us as we fight for a brighter future.

Let me be unequivocally clear: this is a fight for our country’s very existence. The threat to the independence of Belarus, to the very notion of our statehood, is more acute now than it has been at any point since we declared our independence. Russia, having violated the sovereignty of Ukraine and demonstrating a willingness to dismantle a nation through brute military force, has now set its sights on Belarus. The illegitimate dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko, a regime that the Belarusian people have never freely chosen, serves as the primary instrument of Russia's aggression. In 2020, the Belarusian people made a different choice, a choice that resonated with admiration and respect across Europe and the world. We continue to fight for that choice, for the right to self-determination, despite the brutal and oppressive machinery of state terror that has been unleashed upon us. But the enormous price we pay for our choice determines its immense value.

Therefore, today I appeal to Europeans: 

“When you decide whether or not to go to the polls, think about what a huge value it is to have a choice, to have the right to choose. Think about the values and freedoms you enjoy, things that may seem woven into the fabric of your everyday lives. And think about the Belarusian people, who at this very moment are struggling and enduring unimaginable trials for the very right to choose, to live in the kind of free society you are fortunate to have. Our sacrifices are a testament to our commitment to a future independent, democratic Belarus, firmly rooted in Europe. We count on you, asking for your unwavering support and solidarity.”

Pavel Latushka, former Minister of Culture and Ambassador, Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet, Head of National Anti-Crisis Management, sentenced to 18 years in prison in a maximum security colony, and facing at least three new criminal cases.

 

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