EP Adopts New Resolution On Belarus, Demands Investigation Into Bondarenko’s Murder

The European deputies voted on the adoption of resolution on the situation in Belarus. Its draft was published on the website of the European Parliament.

The draft document titled “resolution on the continuous violations of human rights in Belarus, in particular the murder of Raman Bandarenka,” expresses condolences to the family of the deceased and all families who have lost loved ones as a result of the repression of Lukashenka’s regime”.

Photo: Reuters, for illustrative purposes only

The resolution reiterates the EU’s position on non-recognition of the official voting results of 9 August 2020 and calls for new, fair and free elections under the supervision of the OSCE / ODIHR. Among other things, the main provisions of the document also:

  • Demands prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into Raman Bandarenka’s death and the protest-related deaths of Alyaksandr Taraykouski, Alexander Vikhor, Artsyom Parukou, Gennady Shutov and Konstantin Shishmakov;
  • Condemns the suppression of the media and access to the internet, the spread of disinformation, and the beating, arrests and intimidation of journalists and bloggers; underscores the right of the people of Belarus to have unhindered access to information; calls for the EU to use its instruments to support outlets and journalists subjected to repression by the regime;
  • Calls for the EU to lend support to an international investigation of crimes perpetrated by the Lukashenka regime against the people of Belarus; believes that the investigation should be supported by the establishment of an evidence collection centre and an EU taskforce of international law experts to assist in future international investigations; calls on the Commission, the Member States and the EEAS to provide full support to the efforts of the UN Human Rights Council and the OSCE Moscow Mechanism, as well as human rights defenders and civil society, to ensure documentation and reporting of human rights violations and subsequent accountability and justice for victims;
  • Highlights that actions taken so far by the EU and the Member States against the Lukashenka regime are insufficient and welcomes the Council’s decision to work on a third package of sanctions aimed at firms and oligarchs with ties to the Lukashenka regime; calls for a credible enlargement of the EU sanctions list;
  • Calls for a complete freeze on all EU fund transfers, including loans from the European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and others, to the current Belarusian Government and state-controlled projects; calls on the EEAS to suspend negotiations on the EU-Belarus Partnership Priorities until free and fair presidential elections have taken place.

The document reiterates its call on the Council and Commission to establish comprehensive, effective and timely EU-wide restrictive measures, a so-called European Magnitsky Act, that would allow for the targeting of any individual, state and non-state actors, and other entities responsible for or involved in grave human rights violations, abuses and corruption, without any further delay.

613 MEPs voted for the resolution, 41 voted against in, and 35 abstained.

Recall that the European Union is currently working on the third package of sanctions against Belarus, which may affect companies and businessmen associated with Alexander Lukashenko – the lists may be adopted as early as 7 December at a meeting of the EU foreign ministers.