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The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, the European Youth Forum and the International Partnership for Human Rights strongly condemn the large-scale detentions of peaceful protesters in Minsk and other cities of Belarus during the Freedom Day demonstrations on 25 March 2017.

Denouncing these actions, the undersigned organizations urge the Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release those detained during the peaceful protests, to investigate the use of violence against protesters and detainees; to ensure the access to the developments on the ground for the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; to put an end to the prosecution of civil society activists, media workers and opposition politicians and commit to concrete and systemic human rights reforms in the country.

While welcoming the recent thaw in EU-Belarus relations, the signatories call upon EU institutions, EU member states and international organizations to make the future cooperation with Belarusian government conditional on the progress in the field of human rights; to support Belarusian civil society in its efforts to document human rights violations and to provide assistance to the victims; to support the extension of the mandate for the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus during the Human Rights Council session in June 2017.

 

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