Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Human rights activists meet with PACE delegation

September 8, representatives of Belarusian human rights organizations had a meeting with a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at the office of the EU Mission in Minsk.

The visit of the PACE delegation to Belarus began on 7 September and seeks to assess the campaign and the political climate in the run-up to presidential elections. The delegation is headed by the Turkish MP Reha Denemec and includes Jonas Gunnarsson (Sweden), Marieluise Beck
Gunarsan Jonas (Sweden), Marieluise Beck and Andrej Hunko (Germany), Robert Neill (UK), Arpine Hovhannisyan (Armenia) and the Rapporteur on Belarus for the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy Andrea Rigoni (Italy). Human rights NGOs were represented at the meeting by Valiantsin Stefanovich (HRC "Viasna"), Aleh Hulak (BHC), Andrei Bastunets (BAJ) and Mikhail Matskevich (Lawtrend).

According to the Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich, the human rights activists informed the representatives of the PACE delegation on the progress of the election campaign and the current human rights situation in Belarus in this context.

"I spoke about the stages of the election campaign that are already over – the formation of territorial and precinct election commissions and the collection of signatures for nomination of presidential candidates. I also touched on the problematic aspects related to the procedure of counting of votes, focusing on the fact that the proposals of human rights defenders were rejected by the Chair of the Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna. In particular, our colleagues from the BHC offered to issue certified copies of the protocols confirming the results of the voting and publish the information about these results for each precinct at the website of the Central Election Commission,” said Valiantsin Stefanovich.

He passed to the delegation the analytical reports prepared on the results of the independent monitoring, held by the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections".

"The context of the conversation had a wider scope – the overall pre-election situation in the country. We talked about the latest developments - the detention of a candidate for president in the 2010 election, Aliaksei Mikhalevich, who decided to return to the country," said the human rights activist.

The visit of the PACE delegation to Belarus will last until September 10. In October, PACE mission will arrive in Belarus to observe the presidential elections on the day of voting, October 11.