Riigikogu passes statement in support of democracy in Belarus

A Riigikogu sitting.
A Riigikogu sitting. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

At an extraordinary Riigikogu sitting on Tuesday evening, August 25, the Riigikogu passed a statement called "In Support of Democracy and Civil Society in Belarus", submitted by 88 members of the 101-seat Riigikogu.

ERR News wrote on Monday that speaker of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) had called for an extraordinary sitting of the Riigikogu to discuss the situation in Belarus, after the returning to power of President Alexander Lukashenko, and the wave of mass protests which followed in Minsk, across Belarus, and internationally.

The full statement, as passed by the Riigkogu, reads as follows:

"The Riigikogu expresses its support to the people of Belarus in their fight for a free, democratic, and dignified future.

The Riigikogu promotes democracy, human rights and free elections in Belarus, applauds the courage of the people of Belarus to take a stand to defend their inalienable human and citizens' rights, and expresses the solidarity of the people of Estonia with the people of Belarus.

The Riigikogu does not recognise the results of the 9 August 2020 presidential elections in Belarus, because these were not free, fair, or democratic.

The Riigikogu condemns any use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and calls on the authorities of Belarus to immediately free all the individuals arrested for political reasons.

The Riigikogu calls for the organisation of free, fair, and democratic elections at the earliest opportunity, under the supervision of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organisations.

The Riigikogu urges the UN Member States and their parliaments to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belarus and to condemn any attempts to interfere with the right of the people of Belarus to free and democratic elections.

The Riigikogu refers to its Statement of 21 February 2006, which expresses concern for the situation in Belarus and calls attention to the fact that the long-term violation of human rights and freedoms has led the Belarus society into an impasse that can only be escaped by taking guidance from the clear will of the people.

The Riigikogu welcomes the common position of the EU leaders, stressing the need for the EU and its Member States to complement the sanctions with the development of a policy of long-term support for the Belarus civil society.

The Riigikogu encourages the Government of the Republic to continue active international cooperation on all levels, and to support democracy, civil society, and free press in Belarus."

Elections in Belarus

Following the presidential elections in Belarus on August 9, mass protests have taken place in Minsk and other cities, as well as internationally, with protesters calling for new and fair elections after long-time president Alexander Lukashenko secured his sixth term.

It is widely believed that opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya won the election and that the recent elections were rigged in favor of Lukashenko.

An exit poll conducted in Tallinn and 25 major cities in Europe showed large-scale support for the opposition candidate among Belarusians living in Estonia, further legitimizing suspicions of vote-rigging.

The Estonian government has said it does not recognize the results of the elections which have been denounced as neither free nor fair by the international community. Estonia has called for new elections to be held.

Estonia and the other Baltic states have stood in support of new and fair elections in Belarus, raising the issue to the United Nations Security Council, agreeing on sanctions for Belarusian officials responsible and more.

On August 15, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) joined his Lithuanian and Latvian counterparts in calling for new, free and fair presidential elections in Belarus.

International protest has also followed a crackdown on demonstrators in Belarus by that country's security forces. The Baltic states formed a solidarity chain in support of Belarus on August 23. Hundreds of people also gathered in Tallinn.

Hundreds of people gathered to form a human chain in Tallinn to support Belarusians. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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