European Parliament Proposed Free Visas for Belarusians
On 29 September in Strasbourg European Parliament approved a resolution on Belarus that in particular says that "instead of improving, the situation in Belarus has further deteriorated, which has led to a situation where human rights are blatantly violated" and urges the member states to introduce free visas for Belarusian citizens.
European Parliament strongly condemns "on the media, minority and human rights activists, members of the opposition, religious leaders, and any person who attempts freely to voice criticism of the President and the regime". The resolution highlights cases of persecution of Protestants, the Union of Poles in Belarus activists, the Roma minority in Belarus, and also refusal to allow entry to a group of delegates of European Parliament.
The deputies call on the European commission to create a programme of scholarships for NGOs and human rights and minority activists.
"Should the Belarussian authorities fail to improve the situation regarding freedom of speech, assembly and religion, the Commission, the Council and Parliament should initiate the procedure to expand the visa-ban list to include representatives of Belarussian authorities. The sanctions against President Lukashenka's regime should also include the freezing of assets of Belarussian authorities abroad", says the resolution.
At the same time the deputies call on all EU member states to introduce free visas for the Belarusian citizens.
It should be noted that at the beginning there were 6 draft resolutions on Belarus – each of the EP factions proposed its own text, however later a common text was agreed on by all political forces.
"This demonstrates large solidarity of the EP deputies with respect to the Belarusian affairs", noted the chair of the EP delegation for Belarus Bogdan Klich.