On Thursday, 1 October, the Saeima adopted a statement on the legitimacy of the mandate claimed by the president of Belarus, in which it does not recognise Alexander Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.
The Statement reiterates that the Belarusian presidential election held on 9 August 2020 was neither free nor fair, that Latvia does not recognise the election results published by the Belarusian authorities and that the mandate based on these results cannot be considered to be obtained in a democratic way and thus legitimate.
“The ‘self-inauguration’ secretly organised by Alexander Lukashenko did not make him a legitimate president of Belarus. The results of an election held in the context of such blatant infringements of electoral integrity do not support the legitimacy of this mandate, and the violations of law committed in organising one's own inauguration can only affirm this conclusion. It is inadmissible to remain silent when international rights are flagrantly violated, when human rights and people are repressed, that is why Latvia must not become a silent accessory to the violent oppression of Belarusian people's will,” emphasised Rihards Kols, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima.
The Statement was issued in response to the inauguration ceremony of Lukashenko as the president of Belarus, which took place on 23 September 2020 in Minsk and was kept secret until the very last moment and during which Lukashenko took the presidential oath assuming his sixth term of office, thus aggravating the political crisis in Belarus even further.
As emphasised in the Statement, despite the repressions and violence committed by the Belarusian authorities against the people of Belarus, the mass arrests and persecution of the political opposition and civil society representatives, large-scale peaceful protests continue to take place in the capital city Minsk and other cities of Belarus, which clearly shows that the Belarusian people demand that democratic rights, fundamental human rights and freedoms be respected.
In the Statement, the Saeima strongly condemns the crackdown by the Belarusian authorities on peaceful protesters, who are subjected to violent repressions. MPs also express their strong condemnation of the fact that, during the peaceful mass protests following the presidential election of 9 August 2020, demonstrators, bystanders, journalists, and other members of the society have been subjected to unfounded brutal and physical violence and even torture only because they exercise their freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and their right to protest.
In the Statement, MPs call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately discontinue the use of force, violence, repressions, and other violations of human rights and to refrain from any actions that do not promote the necessary dialogue with the people of Belarus, its civil society, which includes the political opposition, and to immediately release all political prisoners.
Additionally, the Saeima stresses its unwavering support to the investigation launched by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on 17 September 2020 into human rights abuses and election fraud in Belarus. It also expresses firm support for the work of the UN Human Rights Council aimed at ensuring that international organisations record and report human rights violations, perpetrators are brought to account, and victims receive justice.
In addition, the Saeima urges to promptly establish a comprehensive, effective, and timely European Union (EU) sanctions regime that would allow to confront any person, public institution, NGO, or any other body responsible for severe human rights violations and abuse of power, as set out in the Statement.
The Saeima also reaffirms its constant support for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Belarus and to the people of Belarus.
Meanwhile, the Baltic Assembly, the inter-parliamentary cooperation organisation of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, has sent a letter to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, David Maria Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, calling on the EU institutions to closely follow the developments in Belarus and, if necessary, strengthen the instruments of EU action, ensuring a peaceful resolution of the situation in Belarus as soon as possible.
The BA also urges EU Member States and their entrepreneurs to be particularly diligent in following the existing sanctions regimes. The current sanctions regime, in practice, does not fully prevent the Belarusian authorities from acquiring the goods that are available for purchase from the EU and that can be used for internal repressions, according to the Letter.
We, the Baltic States, entering the second century of our national independence, are united in our understanding of European values and the need to protect them as strongly as we protected our independence, which helped us break free from the totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union and which was manifested to the world by the unity of our peoples in the Baltic Way. The BA emphasises in its Letter that it is now our moral duty to support Belarus in its transition to a fully democratic regime.
Saeima Press Service