Human Rights Activists Propose to Extend “Brussels Lists”
On 7 November in Brussels ministers of foreign affairs of the European Union approved the statement warning Belarus about the possibility of sanctions unless the next presidential election is free and fair.
The visa sanctions of the European Union are already applied to a number of Belarusian officials. Viktar Sheiman, Iury Sivakou, Uladzimir Navumau and Dzmitry Pailichenka are suspected in relation to disappearance of well-known political activists and therefore prohibited to enter the EU. Lidzia Iarmoshyna, chair of the Central Election Commission, is considered to be responsible for falsifying of the parliamentary election and the referendum of 17 October 2004 and has been also included in this list. Another its member is Iury Padabied, head of Minsk riot police. He is accused in violent dispersal of peaceful protest actions.
However, human rights activists think this list is too short. In his interview to RFE/RL the well-known Belarusian human rights activist Hary Pahaniaila said:
-- We would like to extend the circle of the duty officials on whom visa restrictions are imposed. Among them there are judges, procurators and high police officials who take lawless decisions concerning peaceful demonstrations, sentence citizens to enormous fines or imprisonment.
In the end of September the European Parliament adopted the resolution declaring the intention to include into the list of visa restrictions the representatives of Belarusian regime who are responsible for persecution of journalists, oppositional activists, representatives of national minorities, oppositional activists, etc. This document demonstrates the wish of the European countries to turn the special attention on the human rights problems in Belarus. The resolution, for instance, stated that instead of the improvement of the situation of human rights in Belarus there takes place further deterioration.
Ihar Liednik, member of HRC Viasna from Barysau:
-- Human rights activists must be sure they don’t work in vain. I believe it will be so in the case those who violate laws know about their future responsibility. It is very hard if we struggle only inside the country. I think the countries where human rights are more respected must evaluate the actions of the regime’s supporters who pressurize politicians and independent mass media. They will do everything possible to expand the mechanism of visa restrictions on these persons.