Opening a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, its President Martin Schulz made the following statement on the situation in Belarus ahead of parliamentary elections on September 23.
“We observe with great concern the continued abuse of human rights, the rule of law and democratic values in Belarus.
I am deeply worried by recent events in the country, notably the travel ban on some opposition leaders and human rights defenders, laws that expand the powers of the KGB and the recent expulsion of the Swedish ambassador.
We call on President Lukashenko for political change and reforms.
The first step must be the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and their full rehabilitation.
The continued detention of Ales Bialiatski, Mikalai Statkevich, Pavel Sevyarynets, Syarhey Kavalenka, Dzmitry Dashkevich and other political prisoners is unacceptable.
We have not forgotten!
We call on the government to ensure that the parliamentary elections respect international standards, that all candidates have a fair chance and that the OSCE observers can freely perform their task.”