CONF/SC(2010)DEC1

Declaration concerning the situation in Belarus
following the presidential elections on 19 December 2010

The President and the Standing Committee of the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe

- condemn the political violence in Belarus and express their concern about the political situation after the presidential elections, marred by the intolerable use of force against peaceful demonstrators;

- share the disappointment expressed by the democratic international community that positive trends in Belarusian politics had not continued on election night;

- condemn that the independent election polls were not possible and that the functioning of the independent sociological agency “Novak” is blocked by criminal proceedings;

- demand that the authorities in Belarus release all democratic opposition activists, including the peaceful demonstrators who had been arrested after the elections, expressing the firm hope that all activists detained will be able to be with their families for the Christmas and New Year holidays;

- demand that the authorities in Belarus refrain from further use of force against peaceful rallies;

- express concerns about reports on further crackdown towards civil society organisations following violent acts after the presidential elections and ask that investigation against provocateurs of violent acts should not be an excuse of retaliation against political opponents and civil society organisations;

- confirm that the Conference of INGOs is ready to co-operate with all stakeholders in improving NGO legislation and advancing democracy in Belarus;

- confirms the Conference of INGOs’ firm commitment for further support of the Belarusian people as they strive for a free and democratic Belarus.