Brussels, 28 September 2020
Steering Committee statement
on the adoption of sanctions against the perpetrators of election fraud, violence and repression in Belarus ahead of the Special European Council on 1 and 2 October
Ahead of the Special European Council on 1 and 2 October, and in the wake of the Foreign Affairs Council’s failure to reach an agreement on 21 September, the EaP CSF Steering Committee urges the members of the European Council to put aside their disagreements and adopt a comprehensive set of sanctions against those responsible for gross violations of international human rights norms and electoral standards in Belarus. In its appeal to the government of the Republic of Cyprus on 18 September, the Steering Committee has already underlined the importance to treat the situation in Belarus as separate to other international disputes.
Any delay in implementing targeted sanctions against the perpetrators of electoral fraud and repressive actions in Belarus undermines the impact of the European Union’s response to human rights abuses in the country, and by extension, strengthens the resolve of the incumbent illegitimate regime – as demonstrated by Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s decision to proceed with his inauguration, in secret on 23 September, despite weeks of domestic unrest and international condemnation. Worse still, the European Council’s inability to reach a firm decision on sanctions lets down the Belarusian people at a time when they need international solidarity the most.
Previously, in its statements of 12 August and 25 August, the Steering Committee of the EaP CSF has expressed its deep concern at the violent crackdown against peaceful protesters in Belarus. More than 7500 people, including some of the Forum’s members, have been detained for expressing their desire to live in a free country. Thus, the seriousness of the ongoing political and human rights crisis cannot be emphasised enough.
Therefore, the Steering Committee calls on the members of the European Council to put aside their disagreements on entirely unrelated subjects and adopt targeted sanctions against the perpetrators of electoral fraud and repressive actions in Belarus without delay.
Members of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
Zaur Akbar, Youth Club Public Union, Azerbaijan
Olga Chyzhova, Digital Communication Network, Estonia
Ina Coseru, National Environmental Center, Moldova
Lousineh Hakobyan, Europe in Law Association, Armenia
Mikayel Hovhannisyan, Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Armenia
Shahla Ismayil, Women’s Association for Rational Development (WARD), Azerbaijan
Maksym Koriavets, Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies, Ukraine
Mikalai Kvantaliani, Association “New Group”, Belarus
Natia Kuprashvili, Journalism Resource Center, Georgia
Adrian Lupusor, Expert-Grup, Moldova
Tatiana Marian, National Trade Union Confederation of Moldova
Sofia Strive, ForumCiv, Sweden
Yurii Vdovenko, Center for Cross-Border Cooperation, Ukraine