The protests in Belarus are continuing for over 100 days now despite repressions by state authorities. Unfortunately, the list of human rights violations committed against the people of Belarus is also growing ever longer. The shocking death of Raman Bandarenka shows that the peaceful protestors are facing extreme danger each time they take to the streets to express their legitimate demands, the most important of which is still the holding of free and fair elections.
Beyond the use of brute force there are also more petty measures, such as systematic destruction of murals, shrines and even smallest symbols that carry the message of protest. People are left without electricity and water in their homes as a punitive measure. Last Sunday again hundreds of people were arrested during protest marches across the country.
Major human rights abuses are massive and systematic and proven beyond doubt. Nevertheless, the authorities in Belarus are refusing to investigate numerous complaints from victims and to bring the perpetrators to justice. In the absence of any real legal remedies under the current regime, international efforts to investigate and document the evidence of such violations are particularly important.
This was recognised in the European Parliament resolution on the continuous violations of human rights in Belarus, in particular the murder of Raman Bandarenka, adopted on 25 November, which calls on the EU member states and the European External Action Service to provide full support to the efforts of the UN Human Rights Council and the OSCE Moscow Mechanism, as well as human rights defenders and civil society, to ensure documentation and reporting of human rights violations and subsequent accountability and justice for victims.
The EU member states also have an important role to play. The EU needs to join our forces at international, European and national levels and, most importantly, to follow up its statements with meaningful actions to support the brave people of Belarus during this challenging time.