FIDH and Viasna urge EU to consider conditions for meaningful dialogue on human rights with Belarus
On July 28, Brussels hosted the first round of a resumed human rights dialogue between Belarus and the European Union. On the eve of the meeting, FIDH and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" released a joint statement to the officials involved in the talks.
The human rights organizations urge the EU to set clear conditions in accordance with the EU guidelines on human rights and democracy.
“Given the fact that addressing this situation is a matter of political will, not of technicalities, our organizations believe that a human rights dialogue with Belarus can only be set up when the following conditions are met:
1. The dialogue must be rooted in clearly asserted political commitments
The EU should rather seek to obtain commitments for reforms at the highest political level before the human rights dialogue is set up to discuss the implementation of these reforms.
While the EU should assert the necessity of political prisoners release for any step towards a future normalisation of relations, our organisations urge the EU to engage the Belarus authorities on the adoption of a formal political declaration entailing commitments for a list of key reforms and the recognition of the legitimacy of the independent civil society.
2. The dialogue must ensure constructive involvement independent civil society
The human rights dialogue cannot be credible in a high repressive context and if no concrete steps are undertaken to legitimate and officially support the independent civil society. The EU must therefore seek to obtain – before the setting-up of the human rights dialogue – the formal guarantee that repression of the peaceful activities of the civil society will end and that the Belarus authorities recognize the legitimacy of the independent civil society.
3. The dialogue must implement a human rights Road Map – in conjunction with the best interplay of EU policies
This Road Map should take the form of a detailed action plan setting out clearly the benchmarks, responsibilities and time-frames for the implementation of reforms. The human rights Road Map should explicitly be presented as part of a wider framework aiming to allow the use of the best interplay of policies and tools available to reach the set objectives.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry’s website has already published official information on the results of the first round of the EU-Belarus dialogue:
“The discussion focused on a range of issues, including the establishment of a National Human Rights Institution, freedom of expression, assembly and association, the death penalty and the fight against inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as children’s rights. Cooperation with the UN and coordination on multilateral issues were also discussed. The talks demonstrated the commitment of Belarus and the EU to deepen the dialogue, including in the area of human rights,” says the MFA press-service.
See full text of the joint statement by FIDH and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" on the European Union's conditions for a meaningful dialogue with Belarus