Issue of registration of BCD discussed at PACE session in Paris.
On 18 November, there was a session of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) dedicated to Belarus. The session was opened by Sinikka Hurskainen, PACE Rapporteur on Belarus, who presented her report concerning the situation in the country. The report was discussed by over 30 representatives of different countries including Vital Rymasheuski, candidate for president of Belarus from the BCD.
According to Mr Rymasheuski, during the debates the most attention was paid to the issue of registration of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party, the vote counting process in Belarus and the issue of the opposition candidates’ access to mass media. While speaking at the session the presidential candidate from the BCD emphasized that there were no essential democratic changes in Belarus. “The authorities continue persecuting civic activists and politicians, numerous BCD activists are facing pressure and repression, the regime is putting more and more pressure on human rights activists using the tax inspection” said Vital Rymasheuski. He thanked PACE Rapporteur Sinikka Hurskainen for her impartial well-balanced approach and conscientiousness in reporting on the situation in Belarus.
The representatives of the Belarusian authorities were traditionally speaking about the ‘national’ peculiarities of the Belarusian democracy and the imperfection of the ‘Western democracy’, about some human rights problems in other European countries. They also claimed that Belarus had made a progress as regards the presidential elections and declared that Belarus was ready to abolish the death penalty.
The Russian Federation supported the Belarusian authorities. Both Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov who represented the opposition and Mr Markov who spoke on behalf of the ruling United Russia party appealed to restore the Special Guest status of the Belarusian Parliament, which has been suspended since 1997.
In a private conversation the representative of the official delegation of the Russian Federation advised Vital Rymasheuski to follow Mr Nyaklyayeu’s example pertaining to relations between Belarus and Russia.
There was a division in the Polish delegation in the way it regarded the situation in Belarus. A number of Polish politicians supported the Belarusian authorities and appealed to admit Belarus to PACE without any conditions.
However, most participants of the session, acting on behalf of their countries which are members of PACE, expressed their solidarity with Belarus and the Belarusian people.
It is worth mentioning that although according to the initial plan the session was supposed to last two hours, it lasted three.