The state-run mass media are studded with the same kind of news – Europe should lift sanctions.
Uladzimir Makei, chief of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Belarus, said: “They… (the sanctions) are an obstacle for building trade, economic, political, humanitarian and other relations. Belarus is ready to take steps forward, ready to search for compromise ways of solution of the existing problems…”
If the authorities really want changes in the relations with the European partners, in order to trust their sincerity, we offer them to rapidly take steps to meet the EU and US, which could be done in 3 months. Then we shall really see whether the authorities of Belarus are ready for a compromise.
1: To reverse Decree №3 of the President of Belarus (2015) on a tax on the unemployed.
2: To appoint the new head of the Central Election Commission instead of Lidziya Yarmoshyna, who had failed to carry out free and fair elections in the country throughout the duration of 20 years. Representatives of the civil society should be included in the Central Election Commission.
3: To carry out rehabilitation of all citizens, who had been brought to criminal and administrative responsibility during and after the elections of the president of Belarus in 2010. It also concerns the elections of 2006, when there were many persons brought to administrative and criminal responsibility as well.
4: Give specific and detailed information about what have been done over 17 years of investigation in the search of the criminals who had abducted opposition leaders Yury Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar, a businessman Anatol Krasouski, and a cameraman of ONT TV Channel Dzmitry Zavadski, and used violence to them. Why no one has been punished for these grave crimes so far, though investigative authorities have all reliable information on the case?
5: Lift all restrictions for doing small business in Belarus, allowing people supporting their families themselves, without asking any support from the state.
6: To reverse the Decree of the president №29 (2002) about imposing the contract system, which seriously infringes upon the rights of employees.
7: To register all public associations, which had been illegally liquidated by courts in the period from 2003 up till the present moment, and among others, to register our centre, The Legal Assitance To The Population.
8: To ease registration of mass media and eradicate any state procedures that hinder development of the free press.
9: To impose moratorium on death penalty in Belarus.
10: To introduce the position of the Human Rights Ombudsman in Belarus.
11. In order to confirm that Belarus is ready for cooperation with international structures, it should give an opportunity to visit Belarus the UN Special rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Belarus Miklós Haraszti, and UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture, on Human Rights Activists, on Independence of Judges, who had applied to the government of Belarus many times with a request to visit the country.
12. To hold investigation against officials, who are on the lists of the EU and US of persons restricted from travel abroad for gross violations of human rights.
13. To reimburse court costs and other expenses to citizens, incurred in connection with criminal and administrative proceedings initiated against them illegally (the Belarusian Documentation Centre has lists of these cases in its databases).
14. To start implementation of the Eastern Partnership programe, The Dialogue On Belarus’ Modernization, which exists since 2009. To start a real reform of the court system, the prosecutor’s office, the Interior Affairs Ministry, the correctional system and secret services of Belarus.
15. To establish an advisory board under the Delegation of the European Union and democratic organizations for joint decision-making aimed at looking for an exit and overcoming the severe political and economic crisis.
One could offer even more proposals for normalization of relations between Belarus and the EU and the US, but if positive actions are made regarding the previous ones, it may safely be said that Belarus is moving in the democratic direction.
Aleh Vouchak, Head of the Human Rights Centre The Legal Assistance To The Population, exclusively for charter97.org