Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

PACE will not observe presidential election in Belarus

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will not send observers to the upcoming August 9 presidential elections in Belarus.

“After the invitation made by the Parliament of Belarus to PACE on July 15 to send a delegation to observe the presidential election on August 9, PACE President Rick Daems said that, given the limited time before the elections, the absence of our usual partner organizations, in particular the ODIHR, the constantly changing situation with health associated with COVID-19, and the resulting travel restrictions for members, it is not possible for the Assembly to send a delegation on this occasion,” RIA Novosti quoted the organization’s press service as saying.

Earlier, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly criticized Belarus’s failure to extend timely invitation to observe the election.

The leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions also expressed concern over reports that prospective presidential candidates had been intimidated in Belarus and opposition activists arrested, reiterating their statement on 2 June that the authorities in Belarus must do all they can to enable a thorough and open campaign environment.

In a similar decision of July 15, the OSCE ODIHR said it will not deploy election observation mission to Belarus due to "lack of invitation".

As a result, the only international observation mission in this year's election will be deployed by the Commonwealth of Independent States, a regional intergovernmental organization of nine ex-Soviet countries.

"The CIS Executive Committee has received an invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus to take part in the observation of the presidential election, and the mission is currently being formed," Maria Gutsalo, an adviser to the organization's press service, said.

CIS observation missions have been repeatedly criticized as politically biased for failure to expose pervasive electoral violations in authoritarian countries.