mandag 31. januar 2011

Innlegget jeg holdt om Hviterussland 27 januar 2011

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Ms Woldseth, on behalf of the European Democrat Group.

Ms WOLDSETH (Norway) – On behalf of the EDG, I thank the rapporteur for this report. I agree with the previous speaker that the situation is not very uplifting.

The beginning of the draft resolution states the dismay of the Parliamentary Assembly at the situation in Belarus. I would use the word “appalled”. I was appalled by what I saw on the news in the days before Christmas. I do not associate arrests and demonstrators being violently dispersed with a democracy. Our debate today is timely and necessary. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are our core objectives. The situation in Belarus after the presidential elections shows us that we must continue our struggle to achieve a European continent where the rights of each and every individual are guaranteed.

I think that many of us had hoped, even if we might not have believed, that the changes made to the electoral code in Belarus would be a step in the right direction. However, as the report states, the so-called free campaigning was completely dominated by the sitting president, and the voting, counting and resulting tabulation were seriously flawed. I would like to quote Secretary General Jagland: “President Lukashenko should accept that elections are an occasion for the people to choose their leaders, not the other way around.” Simply getting rid of the opposition is not something that can be accepted in Europe in 2011.

We must call on Belarus to release the political candidates, journalists and human rights activists who have been arrested, and to complete the reform of electoral legislation. We must stand firm on our suspension of special guest status for the Parliament of Belarus in our Assembly. Belarus must show progress. It needs to take steps forward on the road towards democracy. Only then can we consider lifting the suspension. Unfortunately, and sadly, the presidential election in December was a large step backwards.

However, I am very worried about what the lock-out of Belarus from all of Europe may result in for the people living in Belarus. I think that we should lift the suspension on high-level contacts. I would also like to point out the importance of contact with civil society in Belarus. The fact is that people are suffering, they are denied studies, and they are even denied having their own opinion. We should put pressure on Belarus through high-level contacts. We should help, not push the people of Belarus further into misery.

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