Updated at 23:33,12-02-2020

US Senate passes Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011


The US Senate approved on December 14 the Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011, which "calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Belarus, including those detained in the post-election crackdown, and refuses to recognize the results of the flawed recent elections."

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives this past July.

The draft legislation was sponsored by Republican Representative Chris Smith, who said earlier this year that the bill "states a US government policy of strong support for the Belarusian people in their struggle against the Lukashenka dictatorship, aspiring to live in a free and independent country where their human rights are respected, they can choose their government, and officials apply just laws that they themselves are subject to."

The bill requires the US administration to report to the Congress on the Belarusian government’s "activities in selling arms abroad, censorship or surveillance of the internet, and the personal assets and wealth of Lukashenka and other senior leadership figures."

It states the "sense of the Congress that the administration should deny entry into the United States of Belarusian senior government officials, as well as their immediate family members and business partners, and members of the security services involved in the post-election crackdown." The bill also expresses the sense of the Congress that the US administration "should refuse US government or Trade and Development Agency financing to the government of Belarus."

In addition, the bill calls for "a full accounting of the 1999-2000 disappearances of opposition leaders and a journalist in Belarus, and the prosecution of those responsible."