Updated at 20:54,07-12-2016

EU urges Belarusian authorities to withdraw controversial draft laws

The European Union is urging the Belarusian authorities to withdraw controversial draft laws that would extend the powers of the Committee for State Security (KGB), introduce additional restrictions on street protests and tighten penalties for political and civil society groups receiving foreign aid.


"The bills are repressive in nature", Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, told BelaPAN on Friday.

"The EU is greatly concerned about the recently approved amendments that would tighten penalties for foreign aid; it believes that the measure would further worsen the difficult conditions for political and civil society groups in the context of the authorities’ reluctance to grant them registration", said Ms. Kocijancic.

"The EU is also concerned about the recently approved amendments to the Mass Events Law and a bill of amendments to the law governing the operation of the KGB that is expected to pass the legislature soon"
, she noted.

"The enforcement of the three draft laws would be a serious step back on the path toward respect for human rights and the rule of law", said Ms. Kocijancic.

"The EU continues to follow the situation in Belarus and is ready to take adequate measures in response to negative developments", she warned.