Statement by Minister Simon Coveney on human rights violations in Belarus
Press release21 September 2020
Following a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers today in Brussels, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D. made a statement on the human rights violations in Belarus.
“Ireland is appalled by the human rights violations in Belarus, where peaceful protesters continue to face indiscriminate detention, harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment. In recent weeks, I have made Ireland’s condemnation of the ongoing violations clear during meetings of the UN Security Council members and the Human Rights Council. I again made these points at today’s meeting of EU Foreign Ministers where we had a substantive exchange on the situation in Belarus. The situation is unacceptable and requires a firm EU response.
This morning, with several other EU foreign Ministers, I met with Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and assured her that Ireland strongly supports the rights of the Belarussian people to determine their own future, in a democratic way. I was also clear that Ireland and the EU will respond strongly to the use of violence by the authorities in Belarus.
In that regard, the EU must act quickly and with unity to impose sanctions against individuals responsible for falsifying the election result and for the use of State violence in Belarus. This is an important first step to counter the increasingly open disregard for the rule of law in the country. Those who have committed crimes must be held to account and the EU is ready to take further restrictive measures against those responsible, at any level, as necessary.
Ireland strongly supports the review of EU-Belarus relations and we will continue to play a constructive role with our EU partners. We are also firm in wanting to see enhanced supports for the Belarusian people, civil society, independent media, students and academics.
The Belarusian people alone have the right to define the future of Belarus. Their resilience and strong defence of democratic principles must show the Belarusian authorities that no prosperous future for the country is possible without the consent of the people. Therefore, I continue to urge the authorities to accept the offer of the OSCE and to engage in a facilitated national dialogue that can lead to a peaceful and democratic solution for all.”