Belarus: MEPs launch initiative to defend human rights
May 12, 2015 ALDE Group Vice-President, Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS (Liberal’s Movement of Lithuania) co-hosted in the European Parliament, a meeting with the relatives of six Belarusian political prisoners who came to share their experiences and talk about the human rights situation under Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
The meeting also launched the MEP4Freedom initiative where MEPs representing different countries and different political forces became the ‘godparents’ of the selected political prisoners in Belarus. MEP4Freedom is a sign of solidarity and moral support which has been welcomed not only by political prisoners in Belarus, but also by their relatives, friends and colleagues before the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga and the Presidential elections in Belarus foreseen this year, in November.
At the end of the meeting, Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS said:
“Europe must be free from political prisoners and persecutions based on political beliefs. I believe the EU must keep up the pressure and call for the release of political prisoners in Belarus before the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga.”
The Human rights situation in Belarus has been deteriorating since Alexander Lukashenko became the President of the country in 1994. The authoritarian Government under his regime has been applying a framework of restrictive laws and number of prosecution measures and, as a result, systematically breaching human rights of its citizens.
The Government´s opposition, civil society and human rights defenders in Belarus are in the most vulnerable position – they are continuously and brutally silenced and marginalised on such rights as freedom of association and freedom of speech, which are crucial for the existence of a healthy and modern democracy.