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European Parliament proposes targeted economic sanctions against Belarus

March 29, 2012, 6:01 UTC+3

The European Parliament has drafted a resolution that advises the EU Council to toughen restrictive measures against Belarus

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BRUSSELS, March 29 (Itar-Tass) —— The European Parliament has drafted a resolution that advises the EU Council to toughen restrictive measures against Belarus and impose targeted economic sanctions against it following the execution of Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalev for a bomb blast on the Minsk subway.

According to the published draft, the European Parliament condemns the deteriorating situation in the field of human rights and basic liberties in Belarus, BelaPAN reports.

The absence of profound democratic and economic reforms and repressions directed against the opponents of the regime in Minsk are also condemned. MEPs “strongly condemn” the continuous persecution of the political opposition, civil community and independent mass media. They demand an urgent and unconditional release of all political prisoners – this is the main term of a dialogue between the EU and Belarus.

The European Parliament is urging to move the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship from Belarus to another state unless all Belarusian political prisoners are released and human rights start being respected.

“The Belarusian resolution” was scheduled to be put to the vote at a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on March 15 but it was postponed.

On February 28, the EU Council expanded the “black list” of Belarusian officials. Taking into consideration the recent events in the relations between Belarus and the European Union it is suggested to take a decision on further limitations, including targeted economic sanctions.

Alongside with that, the European Parliament supports cooperation with the civil society of Belarus, efforts of the Belarusian independent media and non-governmental organisations.

Earlier, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voiced its deep concern at the deteriorating situation of human rights and civil and political liberties in Belarus and condemned the increasingly repressive approach to any attempt to express dissent.

“The authorities in Minsk are deliberately turning their back on Europe and the values it upholds,” the Assembly said.

The adopted text, based on the report by Andres Herkel (Estonia, EPP/CD), condemns the continuous persecution of members of the opposition and the harassment of civil society activists, independent media and human rights defenders and expresses concern about the conditions of detention of political prisoners, “held incommunicado and running a serious risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment”.

The Assembly gave full backing to the EU targeted sanctions against Belarus.

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