Minister for Europe David Lidington has spoken following the decision by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on human rights concerns in Belarus.
After the decision the Minister for Europe David Lidington said:
“Today, in Vienna, the United Kingdom and 13 other participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) invited Belarus to cooperate in a fact-finding mission by international experts to investigate serious concerns over the handling of demonstrations during and after the 19 December 2010 Presidential elections in Belarus and the developments since. This request was made under an OSCE arrangement known as the “Moscow Mechanism”. This mechanism has been agreed by all OSCE States, including Belarus, as a means to promote the observance and respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, and the rule of law through dialogue and cooperation.
“In the view of the 14 states involved, the conduct of the elections and the ensuing crackdown by the government of Belarus against opposition candidates, civil society representatives and journalists; the mass arrests and convictions of protestors and journalists during and after the elections; and reports of torture, coercion harassment and intimidation, represent a particularly serious threat to the fulfillment of Belarus’ OSCE commitments. These are set out in the historic 1975 Helsinki Final Act and subsequent OSCE documents agreed by all the OSCE States, and include wide-ranging undertakings on human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law. The United Kingdom calls, once again, on the Belarusian authorities to bring an end to the shameful course of events that surrounded the 19 December elections and which continue to this day. We urge the government of Belarus to end immediately its campaign of repression against opposition candidates, campaign participants, journalists, lawyers, students and many others.
“At the Astana OSCE Summit in December 2010, all OSCE participating States, including Belarus, reaffirmed that they are accountable to their citizens and responsible to each other for the full implementation of all OSCE commitments. All states reaffirmed that we regard OSCE commitments as our common achievement and therefore consider them to be matters of direct and legitimate concern for all participating States. The investigation and report called for by the Moscow Mechanism are intended to help Belarus meet its commitments. We urge Belarus to cooperate with this initiative which is intended to benefit Belarus and its people.”