OSCE PA human rights leaders call for open campaign in advance of presidential election in Belarus
COPENHAGEN, 2 June 2020 - Following reports of the detention of numerous political activists engaged in activities related to the upcoming presidential election in Belarus, the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's human rights committee, Chair Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus), Vice-Chair Michael Link (Germany), and Rapporteur and Kari Henriksen (Norway), released the following statement:
“With an important election just two months away, it is crucial that the authorities in Belarus do all they can to enable a thorough and open campaign environment. We are very concerned that the detention of prominent political activists not only inhibits the work of potential campaigns, but has a chilling effect on society. We therefore call on the authorities to exercise utmost restraint in the run-up to the important 9 August presidential election, and hope for a more free environment than we have previously witnessed.”
Election observation missions deployed by the OSCE PA and partners have previously expressed concern about restrictions on fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression.
Media reports indicate that activists were detained on 29 and 30 May in several cities around Belarus in conjunction with their efforts to collect signatures in support of potential presidential candidates.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is comprised of 323 parliamentarians from 57 countries spanning Europe, Central Asia and North America. The Assembly provides a forum for parliamentary diplomacy, monitors elections, and strengthens international co-operation to uphold commitments on political, security, economic, environmental and human rights issues.