Updated at 20:51,24-11-2020

Dzmitryyew, Karatkevich tell EU official that Belarus has made no progress on human rights

By Alyaksey Alyaksandraw, BelaPAN

Opposition politicians Andrey Dzmitryyew and Tatsyana Karatkevich told Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union’s special representative for human rights, that the human rights situation in Belarus had not improved.

During their meeting with Mr. Lambrinidis in Minsk on March 9, the leaders of the “Tell the Truth! movement called for a number of steps as a follow-up to the release of the political prisoners in August 2015. Authorities should decriminalize activities on behalf of unregistered organizations, end the practice of denying registration to political parties and ensure freedom of the media and the legal profession, Ms. Karatkevich told BelaPAN.

In addition, the need to abolish the death penalty and create better conditions for independent labor unions was discussed, she said.

Also under discussion were preparations for this year’s House of Representatives elections in Belarus. In particular, Mr. Dzmitryyew and Ms. Karatkevich said that ballots should be counted transparently, that candidates should be entitled to have representatives in election commissions of all levels.

Ms. Karatkevich told Mr. Lambrinidis that the EU’s dialogue with Belarusian authorities should be “transparent for the public so that it’s not misinterpreted.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Lambrinidis, who arrived in Minsk the previous day for a four-day visit, met with Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey. Later in the day, he is scheduled to have meetings with Uladzimir Andreychanka, chairman of the House of Representatives, and with human rights defenders.

On Thursday, Mr. Lambrinidis is to meet with former political prisoner Mikalay Statkevich, who ran in the 2010 presidential election, and with some representatives of civil society.