A Call for Solidarity with the People of Belarus
At a time when democracy is under attack around the world, the courageous, peaceful struggle of the people of Belarus for fundamental rights and freedoms has been an inspiration to people everywhere. We stand in solidarity with their struggle, and we call upon the world’s democratic governments and all freedom-loving people to stand with them as well.
Belarusian authorities have systematically repressed human rights and democracy for over a quarter century, while representatives of the opposition, civil society and media in the country have been regularly arrested or otherwise persecuted. This repression escalated in response to the protests that erupted after the deeply flawed presidential election of August 9, 2020, when thousands of citizens were detained, hundreds were injured or tortured in state custody, and several were killed. Far from silencing the protesters, the Lukashenka regime’s harsh measures have exposed not just its brutality but also its illegitimacy.
Belarus is a nation reborn, and the Lukashenka dictatorship must give way to democracy. A new, transparent presidential election must take place, with the support of the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and under the supervision of a new, independent Election Commission.
The Lukashenka regime must immediately halt the use of violence against peaceful protesters; release all political prisoners and those detained before, during, and after the presidential election campaign; allow and participate in a nationwide dialogue, including with legitimate representatives of the democratic opposition; and ensure full restoration of and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.
We the undersigned urge the following actions by the international community of democratic nations, including the United Nations and the European Union:
- full support for the determination of the Belarusian people to build their country’s future in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law, and human rights, so as to ensure freedom, independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus;
- the denial of recognition of the official results of the election held in Belarus on August 9, and the denial of recognition of Alexander Lukashenka as legitimate president of Belarus;
- the holding of new, transparent presidential elections in Belarus that would meet democratic standards;
- the halt to the use of violence against peaceful protesters; the immediate release of all political prisoners and all members of civil society, arbitrarily detained before, during, and after the electoral campaign; and the full restoration of and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and other political and civil freedoms in Belarus. We deplore the appalling acts of violence, torture, and intimidation against peaceful protesters and detainees, and call for full international investigation of these crimes;
- full support for the rights of Belarusian workers and independent trade unions, including the right to strike without fear of reprisal, such as politically motivated prosecution, detention, dismissal, and other retaliatory pressure on self or family members. We condemn the continuing arrests of strikers as well as the application of such Soviet-style tactics as punitive psychiatric treatment, home evictions, and deprivation of parental rights against strikers, and we call for the urgent halt of these practices;
- the strong rebuke of the suppression of the Internet and independent media, the erection of road blockades, the intimidation of journalists in order to stop the flow of information about the situation in the country, as well as the revoking of press accreditation and denial of access to Belarus by international media;
- the delivery of humanitarian aid, the assistance to unrestricted information flow and access to the Internet, the provision of legal support for detainees, the support for medical care and psychological assistance, and the facilitation of temporary rehabilitation in neighboring countries for Belarusians affected by the crackdown;
- the imposition of targeted sanctions, including entry bans and freezing of funds and assets, against Lukashenka and other Belarusian officials found responsible for gross human rights violations or the falsification of the results of the August 9 presidential election;
- the establishment of an impartial, representative international mediation mission to help resolve the political crisis in Belarus; support for the national Coordination Council, initiated by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya with the purpose of carrying negotiations on Belarus’s further transition to democracy; and condemnation of the criminalization of Coordination Council members;
- the provision of active support to Belarusian civil society, independent media, civic and labor activists, and human rights defenders, and full cooperation within the EU’s Eastern Partnership;
- strengthened cooperation with Belarus in the event of democratic changes in the country, including through the allocation of grants for the economy, investment stimulation programs, loans for private companies, further visa facilitation for Belarusian citizens, lending of expertise in shaping the transformation of the economy, and financial aid to cushion associated social costs;
- sending a strong message to the Russian Federation not to engage into any actions that would threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belarus, including but not limited to military intervention and disinformation tactics that induce fear among the population.
Signatories as of November 9
David J Kramer
Joao C Espada
Mantsoumba Shamba Daniel Dupril
Mario Vargas Llosa
Tom Gerald Daly