Newropeans Statement on the elections in Belarus

Written by Nicolai von Ondarza - Newropeans

EDITO - Newropeans, the first trans-European political movement for democratisation of the European Union, hereby declares its strong support for the democratic opposition in Belarus.

We see Belarus under the authoritarian regime of Alaksandr Lukashenko as the last remaining dictatorship in Europe, where basic European values such as democracy with free and fair elections, freedom of speech and human rights are repeatedly violated. As a direct neighbour to European Union member states Poland, Lithuania and Latvia and as a country through which important energy imports from Russia to the EU transit, we regard a democratic future for the Republic of Belarus and a peaceful neighbourhood with its EU partners as of vital importance for the whole of Europe. The EU faces the challenge of defining a common and impactful strategy towards Belarus in the framework of its neighbourhood policy which achieves the triple goal of 1) stabilising democratisation processes in Belarus, 2) defending EU strategic interests in energy security and stability at its Eastern frontiers, while 3) engaging the EU as a whole in a constructive dialogue with Russia as its neighbourhood policy develops.

The conduct of the staged presidential election of March 14th to 19th in Belarus have once again proven that the authoritarian regime of President Lukashenko will do everything in its power to oppress the political opposition, free media, NGOs, minority as well as human rights activists and any person who attempts to voice criticism of the President and its regime. The regime's absolute control of Belarusian media, its violent repression and politically motivated persecution of the opposition and its members, e.g. by disappearances, ban of free media and opposition parties, imprisonment or violent beatings, serve the goal to ensure the continuation and extension of its authoritarian rule over the people of Belarus. The first step towards this was taken during the falsified referendum in October 2004 in which President Lukashenka illegally extended his right to stand for a third presidential term.

Newropeans honours and strongly supports the democratic opposition that, despite this repression, has managed to unite in the Congress of Democratic Forces and to select a single candidate in Alaksandr Milinkevich to contest for the presidency. It is of vital importance to the people of Belarus to be offered a genuine choice for a more democratic future. However, the regime has continued and intensified its repression in the on-going election campaigning and used its monopoly on information for continuous propaganda, making free and fair democratic elections impossible. The therefore expectable continuation of the regime and Lukashenka's presidency will mean the conservation and intensification of his rule and further strengthening of a dangerous dictatorship along EU borders.

Newropeans calls on the European Union and its member states to actively promote a democratization of Belarus. We welcome the activities of Lithuania, Latvia and especially Poland for a more democratic Belarus, though urge the EU governments to embed these in a coherent EU policy towards Belarus and Russia. We expect the EU to support its new member states in these efforts and to use all diplomatic means available to increase pressure on the Belarusian regime without punishing the Belarusian people. Russia should be included in this process to avoid further confrontation between EU member states and Russia. The EU must provide the Belarus people with a clear understanding that it will firmly stand on the side of their democratic rights and therefore actively support their initiatives to build a society based upon the rule of law and the human rights. As for any democratization process, the path is long and often very difficult but it can only be built by the citizens themselves.

Belarus citizens should know that European Union citizens are aware of their efforts and ready to back them up in their democratic choices.

Drafted by Nicolai von Ondarza,

supported by the Comite Directeur of Newropeans