Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Byalyatski urges EU to maintain pressure on Belarusian government

By Syarhey Karalevich, BelaPAN

The European Union should continue to put pressure on the Belarusian government, prominent Belarusian human rights Ales Byalyatski said Thursday in Brussels, speaking during a meeting of the European Parliaments Subcommittee on Human Rights.

Mr. Byalyatski, who is chairman of the Vyasna Human Rights Center and vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, attended the meeting together with Miklos Haraszti, the UN Human Rights Councils special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus, according to human rights website www.spring96.org.

Mr. Byalyatski expressed gratitude to the European Parliament for supporting civil society and opposition activists in Belarus. He emphasized the importance of the European Parliaments resolutions condemning the persecution of Alyaksandr Lukashenkas opponents.

Mr. Byalyatski recalled that he last spoke at the European Parliament in July 2011, telling his audience about the Belarusian governments crackdown on its opponents following the December 2010 presidential election, and was arrested a couple of weeks later.

Mr. Byalyatski stressed that the EUs entry bans and asset freezes against Belarusian government officials had played an important role and led to the release of about 40 political prisoners in August 2011.

Mr. Byalyatski warned the EU against lifting its sanctions against the Belarusian government until all political prisoners, including former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich, were released.

Mr. Byalyatski noted that the human rights situation in Belarus had deteriorated ahead of a new presidential election. He said that authorities were persecuting independent journalists and human rights activists and violating the social and economic rights of citizens.