WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), today introduced a resolution condemning the crackdown on peaceful protestors in Belarus and calling for the imposition of sanctions on responsible officials.
“The continued violence and repression against Mr. Lukashenka’s political opposition and peaceful protestors in Belarus is unconscionable. Belarusian authorities must cease their violent crackdown and release all those who have been unjustly arrested or detained since the August elections,” said Risch. “The bipartisan resolution we are introducing today is a strong symbol of the United States’ support for the people of Belarus and their right to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, free elections, and rule of law. We will continue to work with our European partners to assist the Belarusian people as they strive for a better future.”
“I am in awe of the courage shown by the people of Belarus and call upon the international community to stand in full support of their aspirations for a free and democratic future,” said Menendez. “Mr. Lukashenka does not have a shred of legitimacy left and must step down. The U.S. and our partners in Europe must move with urgency to hold him and his henchman accountable for crimes against the people of Belarus. Further delay only welcomes deeper entrenchment by the regime.”
“This resolution sends an important message that the United States supports the brave pro-democracy protestors in Belarus, warns the Kremlin against a Crimea-style military intervention, and calls on the Trump Administration to impose sanctions on officials responsible for the ongoing crackdown and human rights abuses. I am proud to join my bipartisan colleagues in supporting the Belarusian people’s demand for a new, free and fair presidential election and the right to determine their own future,” said Murphy.
“Following the sham election in Belarus last month, the Belarusian people have bravely taken to the streets to demand their rights, including the right to freely and fairly elect their leaders. Lukashenko is currently an illegitimate president and his regime, with close ties to Putin, undermines security in the region,” said Rubio. “The U.S. should stand with the Belarusian people and impose targeted sanctions on those responsible for human rights abuses against peaceful protestors.”
“I will never forget traveling to Minsk in January 2011 to meet with the families of opposition candidates jailed by Lukashenko for having had the temerity to run against him in the sham presidential election just the month before,” said Durbin. “And now history is repeating itself once again. That the Last Dictator of Europe continues to rob his people of the basic freedoms enjoyed by the rest of Europe is a tragedy that must be condemned. This bipartisan resolution shows that the United States Senate rejects the recent discredited election and will continue to stand with the brave people of Belarus in their hopes for a more democratic country.”
“Lukashenko must be held accountable for his repressive, authoritarian actions so that the Belarusian people can build the brighter future they deserve,” said Cardin. “This resolution sends a powerful message to Belarus, and to the entire world, that when the United States says that we expect fair, free, and transparent democratic processes, we mean it.”
“With the ongoing violence against peaceful protestors, human rights activists, and the independent media, Alyaksandr Lukashenka continues to suppress the fundamental rights of the Belarusian people,” said Romney. “With this resolution, we stand with the people of Belarus and their right to free and fair elections, and we will continue to support them in their fight for democracy.”
“I’m proud to join my colleagues on this important resolution condemning the crackdown on peaceful protestors following the illegitimate election last month in Belarus,” said Coons. “This resolution sends a strong bipartisan signal that the United States stands in solidarity with the people of Belarus – the human rights defenders, journalists, and courageous citizens who are exercising their right to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and rule of law.”
“The crackdowns on Belarusians peacefully protesting the fraudulent election are indefensible. This bipartisan resolution sends a strong signal that America stands with the Belarusian people who are demanding the right to determine their own future,” said Johnson.
“I am proud to join this bipartisan resolution which shows that the United States stands in solidarity with the people of Belarus and condemns the violence that State Security Forces backed by Russia and President Lukashenko have used to suppress these peaceful protests,” said Portman. “As Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, I am all too familiar with Russia's malign behavior. As the freedom loving people of Belarus look to the West for leadership, the United States must work with our partners in Europe to counter Russian dominance and aggression in Belarus."
“President Lukashenko must respect the rights of the Belarusian people to have their voices heard through free and fair elections, and end his assault on peaceful protesters and the rule of law in Belarus. This bipartisan resolution will demonstrate that the United States supports those who desire a better, more democratic Belarus,” said Kaine.
Text of the resolution can be found here.