PACE: the situation in Belarus is a threat to whole of Europe
On June 23, at a morning sitting of PACE, members of working groups debated on the topic "The situation in Belarus: a threat to the whole of Europe". 11 representatives of various countries took the floor. Most of them discussed the hijacking of a Ryanair plane and arrest of Raman Pratasevich and Safiya Sapeha and the reaction of the world to it.
Aleksander POCIEJ from Poland mentioned the blatant violation of human rights in Belarus, and specifically stressed the prosecution of Polish and Lithuanian minorities.
Maria JUFEREVA-SKURATOVSKI from Estonia mentioned that Raman Pratasevich had been granted political asylum in Poland and therefore must be treated as a political refugee with all the protection that international law provides. She also reminded that as of this year Belarus is the only country in Europe to still carry out the death penalty.
Dmytro NATALUKHA from Ukraine pointed out that "the threat to the whole of Europe is not just the situation in Belarus. The threat to the whole of Europe is basically, unfortunately, unpunished evil. And the situation in Belarus is just its latest and vigorous example."
He also called for a bold reaction on behalf of the Assembly to the situation in Belarus and the creation of an ad hoc working group within the Council of Europe tasked with monitoring the human rights situation in Belarus.
Ólafur Þór GUNNARSSON from Iceland expressed concerns that any actions against governments with totalitarian tendencies should pressure on the authorities in question, rather than on the public that we're trying to protect.
Kimmo KILJUNEN from Finland mentioned the shocking number of political refugees in Belarus and continuing repression.
"In any democracy, dear colleagues, the place of opposition is in the parliament, not in prison," he said.
Member of the Assembly from Russia Sergey KISLYAK didn't support the interventions of his European colleagues and claimed that PACE "has been drawn into a sort of post-truth era". He mentioned that the opposition is preparing and training professional revolutionaries in Ukraine and the world is biased because even before the investigation on the Ryanair plane happened, the accusations were already being leveled. He also mentioned a few other cases from history when airplanes were forced to land and no reaction followed.
"This is a country where we are seeing an attempted coup d'état, murders and so on, and no one is talking about those crimes, so let's be honest here. We need to let the Belarusians work on their own future and establish a dialogue that is already being conducted as part of the constitutional reforms in the country, which for some reason, no one is talking about today," said Kislyak.
Samad SEYIDOV from Azerbaijan expressed concerns about the state of the relationship between Europe and Belarus that he called a state of war, while PACE was created for peace. He then called for dialogue and negotiations with the regime in Belarus.