Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections urge Georgian electoral authorities to reconsider decision to invite members of Belarusian CEC to observe local elections
September 9, 2021
We, representatives of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, were extremely surprised and disappointed by the decision of the Central Election Commission of Georgia to invite members of the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus, and its chairperson Lidziya Yarmoshyna, in particular, as international observers for the upcoming local elections.
We would like to remind you that since 1996, all the elections held in the Republic of Belarus were recognized by the OSCE as not complying with the international obligations of Belarus in the field of fair and free elections.
In particular, the electoral process during the presidential elections of 2020, which were administered by the CEC of Belarus, did not comply, at any of its phases, with a number of basic international standards for holding democratic and fair elections and was marred by numerous violations of these principles and provisions of domestic legislation. The falsification of the voting results with the connivance of the CEC of Belarus caused a wide wave of protests and led the country to a political crisis that continues to this day.
We remind you that some members of the CEC and its chairperson, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, were included in the sanctions lists of the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and a number of other states as a measure of responsibility for participating in election fraud and actions that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Belarus.
Under such circumstances, inviting representatives of the CEC of Belarus and its chairperson Lidziya Yarmoshyna to participate in observing local elections in Georgia is unacceptable and, in fact, would be regarded as approval by Georgian institutions, primarily the CEC of Georgia, of the falsification of voting results in Belarusian elections, which directly involved the invited Belarusian officials.
We urge you to reconsider the decision and thereby provide support to the people of Belarus, who are striving for democratic transformations.