Presidential candidates, journalists and human rights activists arrested in the wake of December elections in Belarus should be released immediately, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has declared.
The organisation affirmed that diplomatic relations with Belarus could only proceed on the basis of “respect for European values and principles.”
“The worrying developments that took place in Belarus following the Presidential elections held on 19 December 2010 raise a number of questions, in particular for the Council of Europe,” a statement revealed.
“The Committee of Ministers asks the Belarus authorities to provide additional information on what basis the presidential candidates, journalists and human rights activists were arrested in the wake of the elections. They should be immediately released and their human rights guaranteed. Political freedoms should be fully respected.
“The Committee of Ministers will continue supporting the establishment of closer relations between the Council of Europe and Belarus only on the basis of respect for European values and principles.”