Appeal to investors and donor states upon the minimum conditions of investment and financial assistance to Belarus
Acting on behalf of the Committee on International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus, which brings together representatives of human rights organizations from the OSCE participating states, as well as international civil society networks and organizations;
carrying out since December 27th, 2010 the permanent monitoring of the general observance observance of fundamental human rights in Belarus, focusing primarily on the situation of human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers;
emphasizing that human rights are the subject of direct and legitimate concern of international civil society;
urging the government of the Republic of Belarus to follow its international obligations undertaken in the field of human rights, and urging the OSCE member states to control the fulfillment of these obligations according to the OSCE principles;
The International Observation Mission of the Committee on International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus appeals to financial institutions and foundations, public and private investors, OSCE participating states and other donor states, to take into account the situation regarding human rights and the rule of law in Belarus while taking decision on any program of investment, giving loans or provision of financial assistance to Belarus in any other form.
The Mission underlines that in the conditions of administrative arbitrariness, dependency and subordination of the judicial system, which is demonstrated in all political and economic trials, the priority of force as a method of conflict resolution and absence of guarantees for property rights enshrined in the law and practice, any forms of financial assistance are not effective.
The Mission believes that loans and investment will not lead to an improvement in the economic situation in Belarus, until:
a) guarantees for property rights are enshrined in law on the national level and protected through judicial institutions;
b) the authorities recognize international mechanisms ensuring to both Belarusian citizens and foreign nationals the level of human rights protection based on the common-European standards.
The following minimum requirements to the authorities of the Republic of Belarus may, in our opinion, become the terms of any loans and investment:
1. To provide the citizens of Belarus and foreigners (also legal persons) with an opportunity to use the services of foreign lawyers for defending their rights and legitimate interests in the Republic of Belarus;
2. To ease regulations for the work of the national and foreign media and the access to information in Belarus for them to comply with the widely accepted European standards for freedom of the media - first of all, by abolishing the mandatory accreditation for foreign journalists;
3. To guarantee the unimpeded and comprehensive work of Belarusian, foreign and international human rights, environmental, anti-corruption and other non-governmental organizations that carry out public control over the implementation by Belarus of its international obligations, inter alia, by bringing the national legislation regulating NGO activities in compliance with international standards - first of all, abolishment of Art. 193-1 of the Belarusian Criminal Code which criminalizes activities of unregistered public associations.
September 26th, 2011
Head of the Mission