PACE suspends its high-level contacts with the Belarusian Government and Parliament

Strasbourg, 29.04.2010 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)today decided to suspend its activities involving high-level contact with the Belarusian Parliament and/or the governmental authorities, having noted a “lack of progress” towards Council of Europe standards and a “lack of political will” on the part of the authorities to adhere to the Organisation’s values. 

During a debate held under urgent procedure, in which Alexander Yushkevich, the President of the Standing Committee on Human Rights of the Belarusian Chamber of Representatives, and Anatoly Lebedko, the President of the Civic Union Party, took part, the parliamentarians regretted recent developments in the country, including the executions of Andrei Zhuk and Vasily Yuzepchuk, the situation of the Polish minority and the absence of international observers during the local elections, as well as the authorities’ refusal to permit the establishment of the Council of Europe’s East European School of Political Studies.
 
The Assembly recalled that it was still prepared to engage in a progressive dialogue with the Belarusian authorities “in response to positive developments”, while reiterating its conviction that “dialogue can be sustained only through Belarus’ continuous progress towards Council of Europe standards”.
 
The adopted text, which is based on a report by Sinikka Hurskainen (Finland, SOC), recalls the proposal set out last year by PACE to lift the suspension of the Belarusian Parliament’s special guest status provided that a moratorium is decreed on enforcement of the death penalty.