Belarus: Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the constitutional referendum
Yesterday, the Belarusian regime organised a constitutional referendum in a context of wide-spread human rights violations and its brutal repression against all segments of the Belarusian society. There are now more than 1070 political prisoners. The space for genuine public debate is completely closed off, and there is widespread use of deliberate disinformation. In addition, huge numbers of Belarusian citizens have been forced into exile.
These are not the conditions for a democratic constitutional review process. Moreover, we have seen massive fraud during the past presidential elections and nothing points to improvements in the electoral system.
As stated by the interim report of the Venice Commission, the proposed changes to the constitution give Lukashenko additional tools to further consolidate his power.
Furthermore, the deletion of the reference in Article 18 to Belarus’s non-nuclear status is another worrying element. The EU strongly condemns the involvement of Belarus in the ongoing aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms and we will target those in Belarus who collaborate with the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
The EU continues its strong support to an independent, sovereign and democratic Belarus built on respect for fundamental freedoms and rule of law.