EaP CSF report: Presidential elections in Belarus not free or fair
The Monitoring Mission to Belarus of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum has released a report on political and societal developments in Belarus during the presidential election 2020.
The EaP CSF Monitoring Mission has released their final monitoring report on Belarus. The report asserts that the presidential elections in the Republic of Belarus cannot be considered free or fair due to several violations of democratic norms and standards. As a result, the EaP CSF Monitoring Mission has developed a set of recommendations to several stakeholders: the Belarusian authorities, the EU institutions, the EU member states and EaP partner countries, the OSCE/ODIHR, international civil society and international donors.
First, the report outlines a series of general recommendations. Following, the assessment offers recommendations which are structured around different areas, such as the organisation of a new presidential election, electoral reform, the media and civil society. In general, the Monitoring Mission calls onto the Belarusian authorities to:
- Cancel the results of the presidential election of 9 August 2020 due to massive violations that occurred at all stages of the electoral process;
- Organise new presidential elections with an improved electoral legislation and an unrestricted access for domestic and international observers;
- Release all political prisoners and investigate all cases of torture and inhuman treatment, as well as deaths of protesters that took place in the context of the election campaign period;
- Refrain from the disproportionate and unlawful use of special equipment against peaceful protesters.
Furthermore, the EaP CSF Monitoring Mission urges the EU institutions to:
- Continue to express solidarity with the Belarusian people and call for dialogue and negotiations between the current authorities and representatives of the Belarusian people. No negotiations should take place without representatives of the Belarusian protesting population;
- Call for new presidential elections to be conducted as soon as possible;
- Coordinate their strategy with major actors like the USA and the OSCE chairmanship in order to increase the influence on Belarusian authorities;
- Not concede EU leadership concerning the facilitation of the peaceful resolution of the current crisis in Belarus to Russia. To do this, a joint mediation group of the EU and Russia could be an option;
- Clearly express what measures will be taken if Russia violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belarus;
- Reroute funding away from state institutions and stop the implementation of any EU-funded cooperation projects that involve the Belarusian authorities engaged in the election fraud and mass repressions, until a proper investigation is conducted;
- Consider targeted economic sanctions against the regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenka if the major demands of the Belarusian population to the authorities are not met within six months;
- Hold an Emergency Human Rights Dialogue as soon as possible and maintain and strengthen the EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue and the EU-Belarus Coordination Group;
- Regularly discuss the situation in Belarus during European Parliament plenary sessions and AFET Committee meetings;
- Preserve the current approach of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly towards the Belarusian Parliament without changes until significant positive developments in Belarus take place.