Belarus: High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell hosts a meeting with representatives of democratic Belarus
High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell hosted a meeting with a group of representatives of democratic Belarus, including civil society representatives, human rights defenders and independent media in Brussels on Sunday. The meeting was opened by President of the European Council Charles Michel and attended by Foreign Ministers from a number of EU Member States.
The meeting took place ahead of Wednesday’s Eastern Partnership Summit, and is part of the ongoing dialogue between the EU and Belarusian civil society. It took place against the background of the worsening human rights situation in Belarus. The authorities continue the crackdown on all segments of society, are currently holding captive over 900 political prisoners, thousands of instances of torture have been documented and 270 civil society organisations and number of independent media have been shut down. Many Belarusians have been forced to flee the country.
The High Representative underlined that the EU continues to strongly condemn the blatant human rights abuses in the country and calls on the Belarusian authorities to stop repression and release immediately and unconditionally all arbitrarily detained persons. He recalled the EU’s commitment to support a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis, through an inclusive national dialogue with broader society.
“You represent the voice of Belarus, calling for democracy, for the respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. You demonstrate that, despite systematic oppression and persecution, Belarus still has a vibrant civil society. You carry the message of all those people in Belarus who believe that another Belarus is possible – free of repression and fear. We will continue to do our best to defend the rights of people who stand up for a democratic Belarus. You can count on the European Union.”, the High Representative said at the meeting.
Since the fraudulent elections in August 2020, the EU has supported the democratic will of the Belarusian people to elect their President in new free and fair elections, which would guarantee the long-term stability and sovereignty of Belarus.
He also stressed that the EU remained committed to address the human rights situation in Belarus and to mobilise the international community in support of the Belarusian people, including in the UN Human Rights Council, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.