17 June 2021, Thursday, 21:35
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"Consider Disconnecting from SWIFT": The European Parliament Adopted a Draft Resolution on Belarus

"Consider Disconnecting from SWIFT": The European Parliament Adopted a Draft Resolution on Belarus

All political prisoners must be released.

The European Parliament calls on the Council of the European Union to urgently impose economic sanctions against the Belarusian regime. This is stated in the draft resolution on Belarus, which is published on the website of the European Parliament. The vote on the document will take place on June 10.

The draft resolution states that the European Parliament "strongly condemns the hijacking and forced landing of Ryanair flight FR4978 in Minsk on May 23 and the detention of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega by the Belarusian authorities." The European Parliament considers this "terrible incident to be a violation of international law, constituting an act of state terrorism," the website naviny.by writes.

The draft resolution calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Pratasevich and Sapieha, as well as all other journalists and political prisoners in Belarus.

Taking into account the restrictive measures for Belarusian airlines on the use of the EU airspace, the European Parliament recommends to the Council of the European Union “to develop a plan that will facilitate the attempts of Belarusians to leave the country.”

"The European Parliament calls for a thorough assessment of the consequences of the abduction of [two passengers] from an intercepted civilian aircraft, not only for international air transport and flight safety but also for general safety in Europe and the safety of Belarusian and other citizens expelled [from Belarus] or seeking asylum in states - EU members," the resolution says. "The European Parliament emphasizes that, in the course of such an investigation, the possible role of Russia in the terrorist acts committed by the Belarusian regime should be studied. If this is considered to be the case, any Russian citizen directly or indirectly involved in the operation should be sanctioned in accordance with the EU's global sanctions regime in the field of human rights."

The draft resolution also emphasizes that the European Parliament “reiterates its non-recognition of Aliaksandr Lukashenka as President of Belarus” and considers the current regime in Belarus “illegitimate, illegal, and criminal.” The European Parliament continues to support the Belarusian people "in their legitimate demands and aspirations for free and fair elections, fundamental freedoms and human rights, democratic representation, political participation, and dignity" and condemns the repression against thousands of Belarusians who peacefully protested in defense of their right to freedom, democracy, and dignity.

“The European Parliament strongly condemns and demands an immediate end to violence and repression by state bodies in Belarus, including illegal detentions, torture, and ill-treatment in places of detention, as well as criminal prosecution of civilians, and expresses its support and solidarity with the Belarusian society," says the draft resolution.

The European Parliament also condemns the “harsh and unfair court sentences” recently handed down to numerous political prisoners, including opposition leaders Pavel Seviarynets, Yauhen Afnahel, Andrei Voinich, Pavel Yukhnevich, Dzmitry Kazlou, Maksim Viniarski, and Iryna Schastnaya during a closed trial in Mahiliou. The European Parliament also condemns "the trials of such opposition figures of democratic Belarus as Viktar Babaryka, Mikalai Statkevich, and Siarhei Tsikhanouski

The draft resolution also talks about the importance of the work of independent media and journalists and the role they play in Belarusian society. “The European Parliament condemns the suppression of the media, as well as beatings, arrests, and intimidation of journalists and bloggers, and emphasizes the right of the people of Belarus to unhindered access to information,” the draft resolution says.

The European Parliament also condemns "repression and hostile actions by the authorities against representatives of the Polish minority in Belarus and calls in this regard for the unconditional release of Andżelika Borys, Andrzej Poczobut, and other political prisoners."

The draft resolution speaks of the need to maintain and expand contacts and cooperation with representatives of the Belarusian democratic forces in Minsk and in exile. In this regard, the European Parliament supports the proposal to invite representatives of the Belarusian democratic forces to the G7 summit to be held on June 11-13 and to the Eastern Partnership summit to be held later this year.

The European Parliament calls on the EU Council to expand the sanctions lists as soon as possible to include individuals and legal entities involved in the Ryanair incident.

“The European Parliament urges the EU Council to urgently begin the introduction of the fourth package of sanctions against individuals and legal entities who took part or were complicit in election fraud or violations of human rights in Belarus, including the persecution of independent journalists and bloggers, and begin work on the next package of sanctions,” the draft resolution says. The EP calls for the “punishment of prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officials who participate in the repression and wrongful conviction of opponents of the regime, as well as those who work for the regime in the field of propaganda, media, disinformation, and incitement to hatred, including Marat Markov, who interviewed Raman Pratasevich."

The draft resolution calls on the European Commission and EU member states to refuse any financial support to the Belarusian regime, including new credit lines to Belarusian banks, any investments in infrastructure projects or enterprises, and to take measures to prevent European financial institutions from acquiring bonds or any other financial instruments issued by the Belarusian government and affiliated state institutions.

The European Parliament calls on the EU Council to quickly adopt economic sanctions, which "should be substantial and, as far as possible, have an immediate impact on the Belarusian regime, its supporters, and economic actors supporting the regime."

The EP "calls for these economic sanctions to target public and private companies controlled by the regime or closely related to the business interests of the regime, or known to fire their employees for participating in strikes or protests,” “calls for sectoral sanctions aimed, in particular, to the petrochemical, potash, steel, and woodworking industries."

Among other proposals of the European Parliament - to stop cooperation and financing of Belarusian state-owned banks, to limit credit lines of international banks for subsidiary banks in Belarus, to consider the question of suspending Belarus' participation in the SWIFT system.

The draft resolution calls on the EU member states and institutions to step up efforts to combat cigarette smuggling from Belarus to the European Union, as well as to expel the Belarusian special services operating in the EU and restrict access to the European Parliament for the Belarusian embassy staff in Brussels.

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission, the European External Action Service, together with international partners, to organize a high-level international conference “The Future of Democratic Belarus” dedicated to “resolving the crisis in Belarus, investigating and prosecuting the crimes of the Belarusian authorities against the people,” and democratic transformations of the country.

The European Parliament also calls on Interpol to carefully analyze the requests from Belarus and take all appropriate measures to prevent the Belarusian authorities from using this organization for political purposes.