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BRUSSELS COUNCIL - Platform for global progress

10-11 April 2000


More than ten years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a historic point of transition for the whole of Europe and for those peoples now irreversibly freed from the oppression of Communist regimes.

Democracy and the principles of the rule of law are now seen as irrevocable tenets by the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe, while communism is considered to be absolutely incompatible with freedom. The transition in Belarus has been slow and continues to be marked by violent bouts of oppression and other major difficulties. While the surrounding countries turn towards democracy, the Belarus President Aleksander Lukashenka clings to dictatorship. Demonstrations are now banned by the government after the Freedom March II on 15 March.

The Council of the Socialist International meeting in Brussels on 10-11 April 2000,

denounces the violence against and the arrest of peaceful demonstrators, politicians, journalists and international observers in the demonstration held on 25 March in Minsk, where more than 200 people were detained.

urges the Belarus government to immediately release political prisoners and to intensify the investigation into the cases of the politicians who have disappeared in mysterious circumstances;

urges the Belarus regime to stop all harassment of social democratic leader Nikolaj Viktorovitj Statkevitj and other opposition politicians;

underlines that the Belarus government must hold free and fair elections this year - the government will have no political legitimacy until these elections have been held-;

recalls the fact that President Lukashenka's presidential period, in accordance with the Constitution, has ended; and

gives strong support to the OSCE presence in Minsk and its efforts to promote conditions for free and fair elections as well as efforts to ensure that the opposition has access to the media.