Currently in exile in Lithuania, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya spoke to the members of the Political Affairs Committee by video link. She informed the committee about the state of affairs for the opposition in Belarus, the peaceful demonstrations, and the demands for dialogue with the regime. She expressed deep regret that these had been met with extensive use of violence, the abduction of key members of the opposition, and illegal imprisonment.
In her talks with the committee members, she also underlined the importance of the international support she has had from other countries and international organizations. Ms Tikhanovskaya stressed that such organizations can play an especially vital role in promoting and facilitating dialogue between the opposition and the sitting regime.
Ingjerd Schou (Conservative Party), head of the Norwegian delegation to PACE, took part in the meeting. She declared strong support for the opposition, and for its demands that the people have a right to genuinely free and democratic elections. She also condemned the brutality that the authorities have used in their dealings with the demonstrators. Ms Schou was unequivocal in wanting Belarus to become a member of the Council of Europe.
“The Council of Europe’s wide-ranging expertise in human rights, democracy and the rule of law would make an important contribution to democratic development in the country,” she said.
For more information about the meeting, see articles on the PACE website.
Belarus applied for membership to the Council of Europe in 1993, and was granted Special Guest status to the organization as a means of facilitating the country’s path to full membership. This status was suspended in 1997. Since then, the Council of Europe and PACE have continued to have an active dialogue with the authorities, MPs and civil society in Belarus.
The Storting’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe