The Socialist International considers the elections carried out on 19 March in Belarus completely unacceptable, as conditions for them to be free and fair were not met.
The electoral process was marked by a sharp increase in human rights violations and abuses against opposition candidates and their supporters, including numerous cases of detention, ill-treatment and beatings, as well as the shutting down of independent media and aggression against non-governmental organisations. In such a climate of severe intimidation and repression, free and fair elections are impossible.
The Socialist International expresses full solidarity with all those who continue to peacefully and courageously demand the political and civic freedoms necessary for an open and democratic electoral process, and with all the citizens of Belarus who have expressed their desire to bring freedom and democracy to the country. In Belarus, as in any other nation in the world, the International defends the rights of freedom of expression and assembly, and in Belarus we insist that the personal security of all those demonstrating for democratic elections be guaranteed.
The Socialist International will continue to closely watch the situation in Belarus and calls upon the international community to maintain a strong stand in favour of free and fair elections and full respect for the human rights of the nation's citizens, and to monitor and ensure the well-being of all those who have bravely stood and identified themselves with the cause of democracy in that country.
20 March 2006