Valiantsin Stefanovich: “Brussels has no illusions in its assessment of the regime”
Such a conclusion was made by the deputy chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” as a result of his recent visit to the capital of the European Union to participate in a conference on the dialogue on the modernization of Belarus and have a number of meetings.
“For “Viasna,” as a human rights organization, it is important that the release and rehabilitation of political prisoners was a precondition for the resumption of dialogue between Belarus and the European Union. The most important task for us is that they were released. And, secondly, to enable them to participate fully in the political life of the country. This means that their convictions should be removed from criminal records, which, according to law, largely limits their rights, including political ones,” stresses the human rights defender.
This position was voiced by Valiantsin Stefanovich in Brussels, where he met with the head of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Belarus Filip Kaczmarek and representatives of the office of European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule.
Regarding the position of the European Union, Valiantsin Stefanovich says that now there is a trend to restore dialogue with the Belarusian authorities, “They say that many are disappointed that the application of sanctions has not led to the release of the prisoners, that they will further isolate the country, further directing it in the field of influence of Russia.”
“On the other hand, following my visit to Brussels, I do not see any illusions in the assessment of the regime. No one has such illusions over there. And the credibility of Lukashenka and his entourage was greatly undermined after December 19, 2010. I do not think that anyone in the EU really expects a liberalization (or democratization or modernization – you can call it as you like it) of the political system in Belarus, which would be conducted by the Belarusian authorities,” says the human rights defender.
According to Valiantsin Stefanovich, the EU currently formulates the basic issue - the release of political prisoners and reduction of the level of repression in Belarus. Probably, this is the maximum that can be achieved today.