top of page

The European Parliament's response to the next wave of repressions in Belarus

On February 8, 2024, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution in response to the recent wave of mass arrests in Belarus. These arrests were a result of KGB raids targeting activists, family members of political prisoners, and former political prisoners. Based on the latest reports, at least 224 individuals were apprehended during these raids.

What was the response of the European Parliament and what proposals did the team of the National Anti-Crisis Management make to the new Resolution?

1. Condemnation of repression, demanding its immediate cessation, as well as the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners with compensation and the full restoration of the rights of repression victims. This point, despite its seemingly clichéd nature, holds significance as the issue of repression continues to be a priority on the European Parliament's agenda, and these demands remain unchanged. The Lukashenko regime cannot expect a shift in EU policy towards it until the violence and repression cease, and political prisoners are set free.

2. The European Parliament – and this holds significance – among other things, acknowledges the regime's utilization of forced labor by political prisoners and calls for intensified pressure on the Lukashenko regime. The resolution contains a provision outlining specific pressure measures, specifically the implementation of sanctions against goods manufactured through forced labor. This represents the first proposal put forth by the NAM team within the Resolution's text. Furthermore, we have conducted an analysis of relevant sectors and product categories to substantiate the feasibility of applying such sanctions. We have chosen this approach as the most effective means to address the issue of political prisoners and advocate for the adoption of an appropriate sanctions package. The Lukashenko regime has committed numerous crimes, including military actions, and must be held accountable for them. However, it is also crucial for us to ensure that the problem concerning political prisoners and crimes against Belarusians specifically remains distinct within the framework of accountability, so that our partners can take targeted measures in this direction.

3. The European Parliament also calls for ongoing documentation of human rights violations in Belarus, support for the transformation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' expertise regarding the human rights situation in Belarus into an entirely independent investigative mechanism, support for the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Belarus, and, most importantly, it is crucial to assist in holding the regime accountable through extraterritorial and universal jurisdiction. The inclusion of this paragraph in the Resolution's text was also a result of the NAM team's initiative.

4. Noting the systematic violations of human rights and freedoms in Belarus, the European Parliament also expresses its stance on the lack of transparency, freedom, and justice leading up to the so-called parliamentary and local "elections" in Belarus. It calls upon the EU, its member states, and the international community to withhold recognition of their outcomes. This standpoint also arises from NAM consultations held with several members of the European Parliament during the drafting of the Resolution. The Lukashenko regime should not harbor any hope, not even a faint glimmer, for a partial restoration of legitimacy and recognition through the planned imitation of elections.

5. Furthermore, the European Parliament urges the authorities of EU member states to facilitate visa and residence permit applications for Belarusians. This signifies our partners' understanding of the significance of addressing the issue of legalizing Belarusians abroad and their commitment to resolving it.

Naturally, for us as Belarusians and representatives of Belarusian democratic forces, concrete actions hold greater importance than mere words and appeals. However, by relying, among other things, on documents such as resolutions from the European Parliament, PACE, and other esteemed organizations, and actively engaging in their preparation, we gain heightened opportunities and persuasive arguments for undertaking those very specific actions.



bottom of page