OSCE PA leaders discuss way forward for Belarus with Belarusian Head of Delegation Savinykh

COPENHAGEN, 10 September 2020 – In an online forum today with Andrei Savinykh, Head of the Belarusian Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, President George Tsereteli (Georgia) and a number of OSCE PA leaders discussed recent events in Belarus and the way forward for the country following the disputed presidential election last month.

President Tsereteli noted that the OSCE Chairmanship has proposed to send a small delegation to Minsk, and that the Parliamentary Assembly itself sent a letter to the chairs of both chambers of the Belarusian House of Representatives about its desire to visit Belarus. The Belarusian side responded that more time would be needed but that the proposal would be considered.

President Tsereteli inquired about the current situation of the country and stressed that the situation regarding detained or exiled members of the Coordination Council is alarming. Tsereteli welcomed perspectives from the Belarusian delegation on possible solutions to the crisis, and what role they see for international organizations.

Savinykh summarized the current situation in the country saying that the presidential election led to unauthorized demonstrations which resulted in violent acts and illegal activities. He said that the reaction of law enforcement was according to the law and that all incidents would be properly investigated. Currently protests have been of a more peaceful nature, he noted.

Savinykh also offered his views on the election results and highlighted the need to update electoral legislation. Legislation on mass events should be adjusted to simplify procedures for organizing demonstrations, he said. He further noted that there is a need to modernize the governance system in the country, including by enhancing the role of parliament and political parties.

Ditmir Bushati (Albania), who served as Head of the OSCE PA’s election observation mission to Belarus in 2019, commented on the protests in Belarus, comparing them to demonstrations seen in other OSCE countries recently. He stressed that the voices and opinions of demonstrators should be heard, and inquired as to whether any criminal investigations were initiated against representatives of law enforcement agencies who misused their powers.

The Chair of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus), inquired about the situation with people in detention centers referring to the reports about torture and missing persons.

Kari Henriksen (Norway), who serves as Rapporteur of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, emphasized that now there are two different stories about what is happening in Belarus. She stressed the need to get a real picture in the country, and highlighted reports about violations of freedom of the media and detention of journalists.

Savinykh responded with explanations on policing tactics, noting that the current approach is not to arrest demonstrators. On OSCE engagement, Savinykh said that as soon as the review of the legislation will be completed, Belarus would appreciate the support and advice of the OSCE and other international organizations.

Secretary General Roberto Montella expressed appreciation for Belarus’s cooperation and recalled the OSCE PA 2017 Annual Session in Minsk, referring to the President Lukashenko’s speech there about the future of the OSCE. Montella stressed that there are no double standards or hidden agendas in the OSCE PA and the work of the organization aiming to support people of Belarus which are also authorities of the country.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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