On July 15, representatives of “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, the only domestic non-partisan election observation initiative in Belarus, held an online press conference to report on the first phase of observation of the August 9 presidential election.
Out of seven persons who were nominated as presidential candidates and submitted signatures collected for their nomination, five were registered as candidates. The registration process was marked by violations of the standards of fair elections.
The Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus that the lack of an invitation to observe the upcoming presidential election has precluded ODIHR from observing the ongoing election process.
Following an unprecedented crackdown on presidential nominees and members of their campaign teams, the authorities have opted to minimize the outreach of the upcoming campaigning phase of the presidential election set for August 9.
UN experts today demanded that Belarus refrains from violence against peaceful protesters ahead of 9 August presidential elections. They urged the Government to abandon its policy of arbitrary arrests, violence and intimidation against civil society activists.
The absence of legal guarantees for equal representation in the election commissions of all political entities participating in the elections, as before, resulted in an arbitrary and discriminatory approach to opposition parties and movements.
The presidential election is taking place against the background of a sharp deterioration of the overall human rights situation in the country, in a situation of incessant repression against citizens, including direct participants in the electoral process, which contributes to an atmosphere of fear in society.
On June 20, the detained presidential nominee and former CEO of Belgazprombank Viktar Babaryka, who is currently held in the KGB pre-trial prison, faced formal charges in a criminal case, his lawyer Dzmitry Layeuski told interfax.by. The counsel, however, refused to elaborate on the charges, citing a non-disclosure obligation.