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Belarus: Country, Culture, & People in Crisis!

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International Reports, Resolutions, & Studies

Not only is the current regime ruling Belarus being censured as an international pariah, read the details of the following reports and resolutions to understand why. (It is not simply a matter of Cold War politics that appear to refuse to recognize the current state of international affairs.)

Mr. Lukashenka keeps repeating that there are no human rights violations, that there is information access, and that democratic elections take place in Belarus (words versus actions). Read the details of the following to understand why no one should believe (or follow) Mr. Lukashenka. Of course, with security forces and police totalling 200,000 in a country of 10 million, in addition to no rule of law, arbitrary arrests and disappearing people who had dared to criticize, it is not difficult to figure out who and what is being "protected."

The reports referenced in the following are very clear: It is Mr. Lukashenka and his authoritarian regime that are being censured and condemned and isolated, not the Belarusian people, Belarusian culture, and Belarus as a nation. (But, who is suffering from this international isolation?) Just like every other dictator, Mr. Lukashenka works very hard to confuse who and what is being condemned. . . .

  • OSCE Confirms Negative Assessment of Belarusian Election (of September 9, 2001)

      "The observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has released its final report on the 9 September [2001] presidential election in Belarus, BelaPAN reported on 1 November [2001]."

      "The mission confirmed its preliminary conclusion that the 2001 presidential election process in Belarus failed to meet Council of Europe standards and OSCE commitments for democratic elections formulated in the 1990 Copenhagen Document. According to the report, the election process in Belarus was flawed by: the regime's drive to block the opposition at all costs; arbitrary changes of the electoral environment made by executive authorities; a defective legislative framework of the election; a nontransparent early voting procedure; a campaign of intimidation directed against opposition activists, domestic observation organizations, opposition, and independent media; and a smear campaign against international observers."   (Source: RFE/RL Newsline, Compiled by Jan Maksymiuk; November 2, 2001)

  • EU's Solana Worried about Belarus' Election Result

      "EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on 10 September [2001] expressed concern about the landslide reelection of Belarusian President Lukashenka. 'There are clear question marks as to the validity of the electoral process,' Solana said in a statement, noting that the opposition lacked equal access to the media. Solana voiced satisfaction that the opposition managed to rally around a single presidential candidate, and pledged that the EU will continue to support the development of civil society and grassroots democracy in Belarus. Five members of the European Parliament who visited Minsk on 9 September issued a statement decrying the lack of a free and open election campaign in Belarus. But they also urged the EU to avoid isolating Belarus further, saying that isolation 'is not conducive to strengthening democratic development.' "   (Source: RFE/RL Newsline, Compiled by Jan Maksymiuk; September 11, 2001)

  • U.S. State Department Slams Lukashenka's Election Victory as "Meaningless"

      "U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker on 10 September [2001] said no part of Belarus's presidential election process was transparent or fair. '[Alyaksandr] Lukashenka has merely used a facade of elections to engineer a meaningless victory for himself,' Reeker noted. 'The United States concurs with the OSCE's findings that the electoral process was not democratic. Elections that are neither free nor fair, cannot be internationally recognized,' Reeker stressed. And he added: 'Belarusian authorities have demonstrated a clear disregard for both democracy and human rights during this election by avoiding transparency in all stages and engaging in a campaign of intimidation.' Reeker also said the U.S. will consult with other nations in the OSCE on what steps to take to restore democracy in Belarus."   (Source: RFE/RL Newsline, Compiled by Jan Maksymiuk; September 11, 2001)

  • Article 19 Organization Reports to UN of Human Rights Violations in Belarus

          (Source: Charter 97; April 6, 2001)

    • "Jan Bauer, representative of the authoritative international global campaign for the freedom of expression, Article 19, reported to the 57th UN Commission for Human Rights on grave human rights violations in Belarus and Zimbabwe. . . ."       (On the Article 19 Web site, go to the "European Programme," and then the "Belarus Bulletin.")

    • Also see Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Article 19 (in English);   Article 19 (in Belarusian).

  • USA State Department 2000 Human Rights Report

  • Belarusian Helsinki Committee Releases Detailed Report on Frauds and Irregularities in Last Year's Parliamentary Elections

      "The Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC) has released a detailed report on the results of independent monitoring of this past fall's elections for the National Assembly House of Representatives. In the report, the BHC cites examples of what it defines as brazen violations of the country's electoral regulations and citizens' rights. The BHC concludes that the elections failed to meet international standards and the requirements of the OSCE 1990 Copenhagen Document. The BHC says that the real results of the vote were largely distorted in at least 7 electoral districts and more than 70 electoral officials of various levels committed offenses punishable under the Belarusian Criminal Code. However, the BHC notes, the authorities have neither initiated any official inquiry nor brought criminal charges against anybody. The elections, which were widely recognized as undemocratic, and the distortion of their results have deprived the National Assembly of the chance of becoming a member of international parliamentary organizations, which has caused great damage to the national interests of Belarus, the BHC notes. The committee urges the appropriate governmental agencies to initiate a public investigation into the reported election frauds. The committee engages for the trustworthiness of its report. The BHC also calls on all the agencies that deal with this year's presidential election to perform their functions in strict accordance with international standards and Belarus' commitments to prevent a further aggravation of the constitutional crisis and the country's complete isolation. According to the BHC press office, the report has been sent to the United Nations, the OSCE, the International Helsinki Federation, the Supreme, Supreme Economic and Constitutional Courts of Belarus, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Central Commission for Elections and National Referenda, the Presidential Administration, the Security Council, the Council of Ministers, both chambers of the National Assembly, non-governmental organizations, political parties and libraries. . . . ."   more. . .   (December 7, 2000; at Human Rights Watch's Web site.)

  • Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: Republic of Belarus: Human Rights Developments

      "Respect for human rights deteriorated as Belarusian president Lukashenka maintained his grip on power and the government staged deeply flawed parliamentary elections. . . ."   more. . .   (December 7, 2000; at Human Rights Watch's Web site.)

  • Growing Record of Media Rights Violations (Dec. 8, 2000):

      "The International Institute of the Freedom of the Press reports that this summer [2000] Belarus saw a significant increase in the number of mass media rights violations."

      "According to the IIFP, they registered 2 incidents during the year 2000, where the journalists were ill-treated, and 1 case of censorship. More often police would simply confiscate the computer equipment or the print-outs in newspaper offices, or even capture journalists, in the process of their participating in their professional duties. The overall number of violations, recorded by the IIFP, has reached 52 cases in 2000, as compared with only 19 in 1999."

      "Another flagrant 'violation', which emerged only this year - the 'abduction' of journalists: the ORT reporter [photographer] Dmitry Zavadsky has been missing since the very day of his kidnapping, July 7, 2000. In fact, Belarus has been blacklisted as one of the number one violators of freedom of the press in the world."   (Source: Charter 97, NEWS - updated on Dec. 8, 2000, Friday, 16.00)

  • UN Committee Against Torture's Recommendations on Belarus (November 20, 2000)

  • The OSCE Permanent Council Discusses Belarus' Elections (Nov. 2, 2000):

      "The OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on November 2 [2000] heard a report by Ambassador Hans-Georg Wieck, head of the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Belarus, on the country's recent parliamentary elections."

      "Responding to Mr. Wieck's report, US Ambassador David Johnson told the Council that the [October 15, 2000, parliamentary] elections 'were neither free, fair, nor democratic' and that 'the 13th Supreme Soviet, led by Chairman Semyon Sharetsky, should continue to be accepted by the international community as the legitimate parliament of Belarus.' The US ambassador praised Mr. Wieck's group for 'its groundbreaking work with NGOs in establishing a network of over 5,500 domestic election observers working at 3,500 polling stations.' 'As Ambassador Wieck mentioned, those observers substantiated that the required 50 percent threshold was not met in more than a third of the constituencies,' Mr. Johnson said. "They also established strong evidence that the nationwide turnout was about 40 percent, rather than the 60 percent claimed. And they documented 80 different methods employed to manipulate the vote count.' "

      "In the runup to next year's presidential election, Mr. Johnson said, the Belarusian government needs to allow the democratic opposition access to the state-controlled media, to release political prisoners, to put an end to show trials and to reform the Electoral Code in keeping with recommendations of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights."

      " 'Belarusian authorities assert that President Lukashenko enjoys the overwhelming popular support of Belarus' citizens,' Mr. Johnson said. "We are willing to put that proposition to the test. If he holds free, fair and transparent elections that allow for a real contest with the opposition, we will be the first to accept their outcome.' "

      "The OSCE Permanent Council adopted no resolution on Belarus' elections. The issue is expected to be discussed on February 13, 2001 by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly."   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 151; Friday, November 3, 2000; 4:15 p.m.)

  • Viasna Human Rights Center (Mensk): 1999 Report

          (released in 2000)

  • US State Dept. 1999 Human Rights Report

          (released in 2000)

  • US Congressional Draft Resolution 304

    • "Expressing the condemnation of the continued egregious violations of human rights in the Republic of Belarus. . . ."

    • (1) The fact of the resolution is certainly significant (in a strong negative toward the regime ruling Belarus), but (2) The details included explaining the resolution are even more important (in my opinion). If direct link doesn't work, use "Thomas" search tool: Search Tool for US Gov't Documents Online.     Search for "Belarus" and/or "H. CON. RES. 304".

    • At the Charter 97 Web site, in Belarusian, Russian, & English

  • Coalition in Defense of Democracy and Human Rights in Belarus: Press Releases, Feb. 7 & 9, 2000:

  • The Czech Republic:

      "The Czech Senate Committee on Foreign Policy drafts resolution denouncing the Lukashenko regime: The resolution condemns mass human rights violations in Belarus. It says that the Lukashenko regime is illegitimate and shows signs of totalitarianism. The document calls on the Belarusian government--as well as on the Czech government and the international community--to support the restoration of democratic freedoms and ensure respect for human rights in Belarus. The resolution is soon to be submitted to the upper house of the Czech parliament for approval."   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 48; Monday, May 15, 2000; 12:50 p.m.)

  • The European Union:

    • "The European Union (EU) calls for an 'immediate stop of criminal show proceedings conducted for clear political reasons against members of the opposition. . . .' 'Cosmetic changes to the electoral code are not enough to warrant OSCE observation of the parliamentary elections and even less recognition of their results,' says the statement. The EU calls on the government and the opposition to 'seize the window of opportunity we hope the troika visit may have opened, and to discuss the fundamental issues related to the October elections.' It is stressed that 'early changes in all the mentioned areas are necessary.' "   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 45; Friday, May 12, 2000; 9:20 p.m.)

    • PACE Delegation to Recommend Sending No Observers to Belarus' Elections, Davis Says

      "The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) delegation will recommend sending no international observers to the October 15 parliamentary elections in Belarus, the delegation head, Terry Davis, said at a final news conference in Minsk on August 4. Mr. Davis, who chairs the PACE Political Affairs Committee, said he and the other two PACE delegates, Wolfgang Behrendt and Cyril Svoboda, felt very disappointed at a visible lack of progress in Belarus in terms of adequate conditions for free and fair elections."

      "According to Mr. Davis, their three-day talks with representatives of the Belarusian government, opposition, NGOs, media and trade unions showed that little has been done since their previous visit in March on each of the four conditions set by the international community (improved electoral laws, a climate of trust in society, media access for the opposition and meaningful powers for parliament)."

      "The Belarusian authorities accepted few of the proposals produced by their 'sociopolitical dialogue' with NGOs, Mr. Davis added. He confirmed that PACE, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the European parliament, and some other international organizations would hold a "technical conference" in Vienna on August 30 to make a final consolidated decision whether to send observers to Belarus this fall."   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 16; Friday, August 4, 2000; 12:20 p.m.)

    • Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union concerning the judgment handed down against Mr. Chigir:

      "Bearing in mind that Mr. Chigir return to prison would have put paid to any hope of establishing the climate of confidence necessary for the holding and observation of democratic elections in Belarus, the European Union notes that he remains at liberty.

      However, the sentence imposed on Mr. Chigir on 19 May 2000 is designed to prevent him from playing a proper part in politics and in the coming elections in his country.

      The European Union regrets this further instance of the use of legal proceedings against opposition figures for political purposes, which:

      • illustrate the blurring of powers in Belarus, although separation of powers fronts a basic principle of all European democracies;
      • does not help efforts to establish the conditions deemed essential to the organization of free, democratic elections;
      • also casts doubt on the credibility on the national dialogue process set in motion by the authorities, just when they have agreed to hold talks with opposition parties.

      The European Union, which since Mr. Chigirҳ arrest in March, 1999, has constantly denounced the political exploitation of this case, like others before it, therefore keenly hopes that the hearing of appeal by Mr. Chigir before the Supreme Court in Belarus provide an opportunity to revise the judgment against him and thus facilitate the holding of the coming elections in an acceptable manner.

      The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union, the associated countries Cyprus, Malta, and Turkey, and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration."   (Source: Charter 97, NEWS - updated on May 26, 2000, at 16.40)

  • Poland:

      "Belarusian-Polish relations look normal, but Poland cannot help reacting to the clear setback of democracy in Belarus, said Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski on May 17 while visiting France, according to Belarusian official sources. Mr. Kwasniewski also said that he did not understand the behavior of the Belarusian leader, Aleksandr Lukashenko. "   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 65; Wednesday, May 17, 2000; 10:00 p.m.)

      " 'The formation of the provisional government in Poland will not change Poland's policy regarding Belarus and support for the Belarusian opposition,' said Marek Kotlarski of the Solidarity bloc (AWS), which is expected to dominate the new Polish government. According to the press office of the Charter '97 human rights group, Mr. Kotlarski expressed his conviction that 'Polish-Belarusian cooperation in terms of supporting the political opposition will be our foreign policy priority.' 'The new government's position on official Minsk will not be reassessed,' Mr. Kotlarski said. 'We pay close attention to human rights violations in Belarus.' "   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 40; Friday, June 9, 2000; 5:00 p.m.)

  • The Interparliamentary Union:

      Although the Interparliamentary Union is the only non-communist, non-international pariah state or organization to recognize the Lukashenka appointed (fake) Belarusian parliament, they have nonetheless passed a "Resolution on the Supreme Soviet rightsҠviolations at an annual session of the Interparliamentary Union (Amman, Jordan, May 1-6, 2000). [The 13th Supreme Soviet is the democratically elected Belarusian parliament.] The IPU is in control of monitoring over the cases of [the Supreme Soviet] MPsҠrights violations and has passed numerous resolutions condemning the harassment of deputies by the regime of Lukashenko."   (Source: Charter 97, NEWS; updated on 19.05.2000 at 17.00)

  • Sweden:

      "The Swedish Social Democrats will continue their efforts against the Lukashenko regime for freedom and democracy in Belarus, Urban Ahlin, secretary of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, told reporters in Minsk on May 20. Mr. Ahlin and other representatives of Sweden's ruling party arrived in Belarus at the invitation of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (BSDP)."

      "They visited all regional centers and the towns of Pinsk and Soligorsk. Their talks with local BSDP activists focused on interregional cooperation and support to Belarus' democratic forces. According to Mr. Ahlin, it will be up to the Belarusian opposition to choose the form of that support. Mr. Ahlin said his party was determined to carry on the campaign it had launched in March to promote democracy and free elections in Belarus, and to draw other democratic organizations into the campaign. The Swedish Social Democratic party's Web site on Belarus can be found at The Swedish Social Democrats representatives left Belarus on May 21 but plan to return in June to attend a BSDP convention."   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 80; Sunday, May 21, 2000; 6:25 p.m.)

  • Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania:

      "The Baltic Assembly, an international organization for cooperation between the parliaments of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, adopted a resolution on Belarus at its meeting in Tallinn on May 27, 2000. The resolution calls on international organizations, including the UN, OSCE, and Council of Europe to devote more attention to human rights problems in Belarus. The Baltic Assembly calls on the Belarusian authorities to create conditions for an open and confiding dialogue in society aimed at ensuring the development of democracy and ending the authorities' arbitrary rule."   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 80; Sunday, May 21, 2000; 6:25 p.m.)

      "An international congress Evaluation of Communism Crimes held in Vilnius on June 12-14, [2000] has become a 'second Nuremberg' and issued a moral sentence to the crimes of communism. In their bills of indictment representatives of 23 countries of the world stated that the number of victims of the communist regime in the world by several time exceeds the number of victims of fascist ideology. The final resolution of the congress contains a special resolution on Belarus that says that there is a real danger of reanimation of Stalinism and moral genocide in Belarus nowadays. . . ."

      "Zyanon Paznyak, Syamen Sharetsky, Maya Klyashtornaya, and Radzim Garetsky, who represented Belarus at the congress, said that their parents paid with their lives for their Belarusian identity. Communism killed 80% of Belarusian intellectuals, and about 80% of well-off Belarusian farmers were shot in Kurapaty, or sent to exile to Russian Siberia. It is simply impossible to evaluate the moral genocide -- how many people were sentenced to prison terms, exiled, expelled from universities, or sacked from work. "

      "The fact that neo-communist forces try to question Stalinists repressions in Kurapaty proves that they try to conceal the real scale of the tragedy of Belarusian people. Moreover, the congress participants are convinced that today Belarus faces a real threat of reanimation of gloomy times of the 1930's with all its lies and fear. Therefore, a special statement on Belarus was adopted by the congress along with the final resolution."   (Source: Radio Racja, June 20, 2000)

  • Lithuania:

    • "The Lithuanian foreign ministry has delivered a protest note to Belarusian Ambassador in Lithuanian Vladimir Garkun in response to the promotion of Lieutenant-General Vladimir Uskhopchik to Belarus' deputy defense minister."

      " 'The Lieutenant-general of the Belarusian army, against whom a criminal case was brought in neighboring Lithuania, is to assume office one of these days,' says the protest note."

      "In 1991, Mr. Uskhopchik was in charge of a Soviet Army division in Lithuania, which participated in suppressing protests against the Soviet occupation. Six people were killed and several dozens wounded during the 1991 events. Criminal charges were brought against General Uskhopchik, but he fled to Belarus, where he was named as commander of an army corps in the town of Bobruisk. Now he has been promoted to the deputy defense minister. 'The appointment is not in line with the spirit of good-neighborly relations and will have negative consequences for bilateral relations,' says the note. "   (Source: BelaPAN, No. 92; Tuesday, May 23, 2000; 8:20 p.m.)

    • "Radio Svaboda reminds us that Mr. Uskopchik isnҴ the only resident of Belarus suspected of killing people in Vilnius in 1991: Former Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania Shved is occupying an official post in Vitebsk; former commander of the Vilnius riot police forces Makutinovich is a businessman in Belarus. Some other suspects ֠Kotlyarov, Yunenya, and others ֠are hiding away from trial on the territory of Belarus."   (Source: Charter 97, NEWS; updated on 23.05.2000 at 17.00)

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