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Open letter from the European Convention on Liberal Democracy to the European Union, its member states, and the United States calling for an urgent response to recent events in Belarus

Published on January 31, 2011 by: in: Politics

The European Convention on Liberal Democracy (ECLD) – a coalition of 30 pro-democracy groups and individuals across Europe and the United States – condemns in the strongest terms December’s fraudulent elections and subsequent repression in Belarus, and calls on the European Union, its Member States, and the United States to move beyond verbal condemnations and impose swift penalties on the illegitimate regime of Alexander Lukashenko.

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At a time when Western nations are taking a firm line in the promotion of democracy in West Africa, following last month’s fraudulent elections in Côte d’Ivoire, we urge the Atlantic Community to respond in an equally robust fashion to the situation in Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko’s flagrant disregard for the democratic process and the rule of law must now be met with much firmer measures than have hitherto been applied.

In recent decades, European unification and enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have contributed to a growing sphere of stability and peace in Europe.  Belarus remains one of the few stubborn outposts of authoritarianism marring the continent’s landscape.  It is our moral obligation as Europeans and Americans to work together to ensure that Belarus can eventually assume its rightful place in the community of free democracies.

Consequently, we call on the EU, its Member States, and the US to:

1. Demand a re-run of the presidential elections, to be held under international supervision, within the next six months.

2. Demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including opposition presidential candidates.

3. Demand the reinstatement of all students expelled from university for political reasons.

4. Extend the freeze of  funds and economic resources currently imposed upon Belarusian officials for past violations of international electoral standards and international human rights law to include all those responsible for the fraudulent presidential elections of 19th December 2010 and subsequent human rights violations who are not currently listed.

5. Retain and where necessary impose travel restrictions inside the EU and the US on all those involved in the repression and vote-rigging.

6. Encourage third countries to adopt restrictive measures similar to those listed above.

7. Intensify individual as well as joint efforts to support pro-democracy groups as well as civil society in Belarus.

8. Make it easier and less expensive for Belarusian citizens not involved in repressive activities to travel to Europe and the United States.

Signed,

Rafael Bardaji – Former Executive adviser to Spanish Ministers of Defense Eduardo Serra and Federico Trillo and Founder, Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos (Spain)

Dr John Bew – Lecturer in the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, King’s College London (United Kingdom)

Benjamin Bilski – Research Fellow and Lecturer, University of Leiden Law School (Netherlands)

Roberta Bonazzi – Executive Director, the European Foundation for Democracy (Italy)

Juan F. Carmona – Senior Analyst, Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos (Spain)

Jamie Fly – Executive Director, Foreign Policy Initiative (United States)

Roland Freudenstein – Deputy Director and Head of Research, Centre for European Studies (Austria)

Michel Gurfinkiel – President, Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau (France)

Leszek Jażdżewski – Editor in Chief, Liberté! (Poland)

David J. Kramer – Executive Director, Freedom House (United States)

William Kristol – Director, Foreign Policy Initiative (United States)

Dr Andrea Loquenzi Holzer – L’Occidentale (Italy)

Dr Timothy Lynch – Lecturer in American Politics, University of Melbourne (Australia)

Professor Marek Matraszek – Editor, From The Front (Poland)

Dr Alan Mendoza – Executive Director, The Henry Jackson Society (United Kingdom)

Dr Ognyan Minchev – Executive Director, Institute for Regional and International Studies (Bulgaria)

Sebastian Mohr – Spokesman, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (Germany)

Douglas Murray – Director, Centre for Social Cohesion (United Kingdom)

Richard Perle – Former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense (United States)

Stefan Ralchev – Research Associate, Institute for Regional and International Studies (Bulgaria)

Daniel Runde – Former Director of the Global Development Alliance, US Agency for International Development (United States)

Gary Schmitt – Resident Scholar and Director, Advanced Strategic Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (United States)

Robin Shepherd – Director of International Affairs, The Henry Jackson Society (United Kingdom)

Professor Brendan Simms – Professor in the History of International Relations, University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)

Professor Rob Singh – Professor of Politics, Birkbeck, University of London (United Kingdom)

Michael Spaney – Spokesman, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (Germany)

Emiliano Stornelli – Research Fellow, Magna Carta Foundation (Italy)

David Suurland – Research Fellow and Lecturer, University of Leiden Law School (Netherlands)

The Rt Hon. Lord David Trimble – Former First Minister of Northern Ireland and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient (United Kingdom)

Michael Weiss – Executive Director, Just Journalism (United Kingdom)

About the ECLD

The European Convention on Liberal Democracy (ECLD) is a consortium of more than 30 European and American think-tanks, academics, diplomats, journalists and democracy advocates committed to the promotion of a robust and coherent European foreign and security policy, guided by principles of democracy, economic freedom, human rights and the rule of law.

The Henry Jackson Society (UK) operates as the Secretariat of the ECLD. All enquiries should be directed to:

George Grant

Global Security & Terrorism Director

E:

T: +44 (0) 207 340 4520

W: www.henryjacksonsociety.org

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