Ukraine's Foreign Minister's statement relating to arrest of Ukrainians in Belarus

In Ukraine we are profoundly anxious about the arrest of six Ukrainian citizens who were present at the meeting with electorate of one of the presidential candidates of the Republic of Belarus by the authorities of the Republic of Belarus on March 12, 2006 and violent interruption of report of the shooting group from the 5th Channel who elucidated the course of the election campaign on the eve of the elections in the country on March 19, 2006, MFA press service reported.

The Ukrainian side considers the mentioned fact violation of integral rights of the citizens of Ukraine that are guaranteed by the international legal obligations of the Republic of Belarus and admitted international legal documents and notes with anxiety that unjustified arrests of Ukrainian citizens in the Republic of Belarus have been recently becoming of systematic nature.

The fact that till now the diplomats of the Embassy of Ukraine have not been given the possibility to meet with the arrested citizens of Ukraine which contradicts the provisions of the Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of April 24, 1963, and violates an integral right of every citizen to meet with a consular officer of his or her state also raises incomprehension. It has been becoming more obvious that during the last period the actions of the authorities of the Republic of Belarus in restriction of the election campaign, freedom of assembly and free functioning of mass media conflict with the voluntarily assumed obligations of the country before the OSCE and do not correspond to democratic standards.

Ukraine who always acted in favor of bringing the Republic of Belarus out of international isolation urges the Belarusian authorities to respect political rights and freedoms of citizens, to ensure conditions for unhindered elucidation of the election campaign of the candidates in mass media as well as to comply undeviatingly with the obligations before the OSCE relating to conduct of free and democratic elections. The Ukrainian side urges to release the arrested citizens of Ukraine immediately.