OPORA hereby expresses its support to Belarus people in their pursuit for free and fair elections. Systemic violation of international standards and best practices in the organization of elections in the Republic of Belarus led to the delegitimization of the voting results and the campaign winner announced by the Central Election Commission. Choosing a country’s government is a sovereign right of its people, rather than of candidates or officials. Whenever citizens sense the fraud about the announced data, or have evidence on their hands for inconsistent and disproportional results with the electoral attitudes, a peaceful protest is the only solution voters can resort to. Degradation of election system, lack of pluralism and competitive environment do not leave any other choice to citizens but to walk out with protests, since their voices lost power through manipulations and open antagonism to political rights and freedoms.
OPORA hereby expresses its support and respect for actions of non-partisan observers who had to take risks to keep their independence, and to provide an unbiased assessment under any conditions, and to inform the society on the course and quality of election process. In the settings when the campaign failed to be completed within formal terms and procedures, but has grown into the stage of street protests, the role of independent observers and the media is increasing. That is why their civic duty is to continue their work in line with the relevant standards. We hereby believe it unacceptable to have the imposed restrictions for observers, and systemic counteraction to non-partisan observation, which has been evidenced by the ZUBR initiative: 1,988 facts of denial of access to accredited observers at polling stations, 942 cases of restricting observers’ rights, 209 facts of recalling the accreditation, or expelling from the voting premises. In the situation of further regulation of the post-election conflict, independent observation over elections remains to be a key tool to support and improve democratic processes.
We hereby applaud to women of Belarus, among others, who walk out to peaceful protests, against all odds, intimidation, or obstruction. It is hard to overestimate their contribution to the cause of resisting the demonstratory violence and holding back the repressions against citizens.
The unjustified and disproportional aggression coming from authorities and the militia aggravates the political conflict, whereas the only method to resolve it at this point may be in inclusive negotiations between the parties.
To start a genuine internal social dialogue in Belarus, it is important to do the following:
- to stop violence from law-enforcement bodies against peaceful protesters;
- to carry out an objective investigation of all cases of applying force against citizens, and to bring the perpetrators to justice;
- to release political prisoners, and to create conditions for a free political process;
The government shall stop the escalation of the conflict, and bear in mind that any leader will lose to his own people who have been mobilized against injustice.
OPORA believes in the capacity of civil society, and hopes for democratic development of the Republic of Belarus.