Syrian opposition calls on UK to sanction Lukashenka's regime for supporting Assad

2012 2012-11-06T16:49:24+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Today, a London-based human rights organization 'Syrians in the UK' sent a letter to members of the British Parliament requesting to take action against Belarus and a possibility of 'Europe's last dictatorship' to grant asylum to Bashar al-Assad. 'Syrians in the UK' asked MPs to consider increasing sanctions against Belarus and warning UK and European companies against doing business with state-owned Belarus companies.

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear members of the Joint Committee for Human Rights and members of Parliament:

We are convinced, that you, along with the rest of the world, are watching the catastrophe unfold in Syria and the suffering it brings to non-combatants as a result of the actions of Bashar Assad's regime which is holding on to power in the country.

Syrians in the UK, an organization uniting British citizens born in or otherwise connected to Syria, hereby expresses gratitude to the UK Government for the actions it takes to stop genocide and murder of innocent civilians in Syria. An all-out war is ongoing in Syria, with the rebels gaining the upper hand. However, we are concerned that even if the resistance were to win, dictator Bashar Assad may still escape a just trial and continue his war against civilians. This is possible if he were to receive asylum in Belarus, the last remaining dictatorship in Europe, led by Alexander Lukashenka. We are asking you to prevent this possibility.

Many military experts in Syria as well as in the UK see Belarus granting asylum to Bashar Assad as a distinct possibility. In his interview for the Evening Standard newspaper (of October 9, 2012), Lukashenka stated: "[Because of the West's attack on Syria], the world will find out yet what is going to happen, and you will all get yours." In this interview and in his multiple public addresses, Mr. Lukashenka explicitly announced his support for his "friend" Assad.

Syrians in the UK is asking you to look into this matter and share your position on Assad receiving asylum in Belarus, and on the United Kingdom's actions in case asylum is granted.

The United Kingdom has signed into law sanctions against Belarus, where, just like in Syria, abuse of human rights and democratic principles including the freedom of speech and free elections is rife. Despite the sanctions, Lukashenka's regime not only continues systematic violations of human rights, but also openly professes support for Assad's regime. We are asking you to consider an escalation of sanctions against Belarus and other countries offering support to the Bashar Assad's criminal regime and willing to offer Assad asylum. We strongly feel that the United Kingdom and other EU member states should block trade with Belarus companies whose revenues are used to finance Lukashenka's regime, and, as a consequence, go to support Assad's regime in Syria.

Even though trade sanctions against Belarus are in effect, the United Kingdom is the 8th largest trade partner of Belarus with more than EUR 1.2 billion in trade (as of 2010)#. In light of systematic human rights violations and to avoid the danger of Assad receiving asylum in Belarus, we request not only to step up the sanctions against Belarus, but also to warn British businesses and nationals that, by engaging in trade with companies owned or controlled by the state of Belarus, they are or would be supporting Lukashenka's dictatorship.

We believe that other EU member states which still trade with Belarus will follow the United Kingdom's example.