"The People of Belarus Deserve Better"

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 31, 2011
Protestors Detained in Belarus

Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley announced measures that the United States is taking in response to the brutal crackdown by President Lukashenka and the Government of Belarus in the wake of the presidential election of December 19, 2010.

In the statement, Assistant Secretary Crowley said, "The disproportionate use of force and initial detentions of hundreds of demonstrators; charging of five opposition presidential candidates; ongoing raids against civil society, media and political parties; the closure of the OSCE's office in Minsk; and a flawed vote count all represent major steps backwards for the country. These actions oblige the United States and others in the international community to act. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said in their joint statement of December 23, 'the people of Belarus deserve better'."

In response to the continuing crackdown, the United States is undertaking the following steps:

- The United States is revoking the general license that had temporarily authorized U.S. persons to engage in otherwise prohibited transactions with Lakokraska OAO and Polotsk Steklovolokno OAO, two blocked subsidiaries of Belarus' largest state-owned petroleum and chemical conglomerate, Belneftekhim. All transactions with Belneftekhim and its subsidiaries are now blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13405.

- The United States is significantly expanding the list of Belarusian officials subject to travel restrictions. We will enforce those restrictions to prevent the entry into the United States of individuals (and their family members) who are responsible for actions or policies related to the crackdown that began December 19.

- The United States is working to impose financial sanctions against additional Belarusian individuals and/or entities pursuant to Executive Order 13405. The criteria for inclusion on these lists are participation in actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions, or responsibility for human rights abuses related to political repression.

Assistant Secretary Crowley continued, "...The United States continues to seek the immediate release of all detainees and the dropping of all charges associated with the crackdown; a halt to the harassment of civil society, independent media and the political opposition; and space for the free expression of political views, the development of a civil society, and freedom of the media. We will review and adjust our policies based on subsequent actions by the Government of Belarus.

"These measures are not aimed at the Belarusian people. The United States is planning to expand this year by at least 30 percent its assistance to Belarusian civil society, independent media, and democratic political parties, including for activities which increase Belarusians' contact with open societies.

"The United States is closely coordinating its response to the crackdown in Belarus with the European Union and other partners. In this regard, we welcome today's decision of the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council to impose travel restrictions and an asset freeze, and strengthen its support to civil society."

You can view the entire statement here.



West Virginia, USA
January 31, 2011

Pamela G. in West Virginia writes:

We must keep the needs of the people of Belrus to the forefront.

January 31, 2011

Malysh in Japan writes:

It is about time America create these restrictions. How many people have been jailed, beaten or tortured, for opposing the autocratic regime of Alexander Lukashenko in the many past elections? This is by no means the first time that a brutal crackdown has suppressed political freedoms in Belarus; nor the last. The malfeasance of the state and the use of the military to suppress people's right to express their political opinions or pride in their country's distant past is sick and wrong! Belarusians are a proud people that deserve to have a place in the 21st century's diplomatic society. It is time to shut down the recalcitrant regime of Lukashenko.

Georgia, USA
February 1, 2011

JD E. in Georgia (U.S.A.) writes:

A kudos to State for their strong stand against human rights transgressions. Secretary Clinton is doing an outstanding job!

West Virginia, USA
February 1, 2011

Dr. G. in West Virginia writes:

Thanks again, DipNote. We wouldn't know about Belarus either without you.

February 13, 2011

W.W. writes:

@ PJCrowley:

Europe will build on site what North African and mid Eastern are illegally seeking on what today is called European Soil trading taxes to Rome.

Europe will lead the process of transition and change by creating Job places.


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