Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
CSCE :: Statement :: Situation in Belarus Continues to Deteriorate
United States
of America
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 107th CONGRESS, 2nd SESSION

Vol. 0 Washington, Wednesday, November 13, 2002 No. 0

House of Representatives


SITUATION IN BELARUS CONTINUES TO DETERIORATE



Tuesday, November 12, 2002


SITUATION IN BELARUS CONTINUES TO DETERIORATE
HON. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH
OF NEW JERSEY

Mr. Speaker, I want to bring to the attention of my colleagues the latest outrage perpetrated by the regime of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenka.

Last week, immediately after leaving the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, the Chairman of the opposition United Civic Party Anatoly Lebedka, was picked up by plainclothes police officers and driven to KGB headquarters for interrogation. Anatoly had been at the Embassy to pick up the invitation for a conference on Belarus to be held this week here in Washington. In a clear effort at intimidation, Lukashenka’s KGB thugs accused him of maintaining ties with supposed “intelligence agents” and other foreigners, purportedly for the purpose of undermining Belarus.

Mr. Speaker, this accusation is patently absurd. I know Anatoly Lebedka, having met with him in Washington and at several meetings of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, most recently this past July in Berlin. It is clear to me that Mr. Lebedka is an honorable man committed to his country’s development as an independent, democratic nation in which respect for human rights and the rule of law is the norm. There is no doubt in my mind that the real reason for the harassment of Anatoly – and this is not the first time – is his opposition to Lukashenka, to whom democracy and human rights are anathema.

Sadly, this is only the latest in a long list of human rights assaults by Lukashenka. Just within the last few months, we have seen the passage of a repressive law on religion, the bulldozing of a newly built church, the jailings of three leading independent journalists, the continued and persistent harassment of the political opposition, independent media and non-governmental organizations, and the effective expulsion of the OSCE presence there. These tactics are in keeping with the climate of fear which Lukashenka has sought to create.

Moreover, we have seen no progress on the investigation of the missing and presumed dead political opponents – perhaps not surprisingly, as credible evidence links the Lukashenka regime with these murders, and growing evidence also indicates Belarus has been supplying weapons and military training to Iraq. Both in Berlin and in Washington, I have had the honor of meeting with the wives of the disappeared.

Mr. Speaker, the state of human rights and democracy in Belarus is abysmal, and the manifest culprit is Lukashenka and his minions. The longsuffering Belarusian people deserve to live in a country in which human rights are not flouted. Those in Belarus, like Anatoly Lebedka, who struggle for human rights and democracy deserve better. The Belarusian people deserve better.



Countries

Belarus

Issues

Citizenship and Political Rights
Freedom of Speech and Expression
Freedom of the Media
Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief
OSCE Institutions/Structures/Meetings


   
 

Recent Statements

May 2011

January 2011

November 2010

August 2010

July 2010

March 2010

November 2009

April 2008

December 2006

Click here for the previous year's Statements