NEW YORK, May 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Belarusians in Exile, a US-based nonprofit organization aimed at restoring democratic institutions in Belarus, together with other Belarusian groups, called on the EU Parliament to expand targeted economic sanctions against the Lukashenko regime.
"Repression is increasing in Belarus. The last dictatorship in Europe employs capital punishment; opponents are kidnapped or imprisoned. Yet every year the EU buys more from Belarus. We ask for an increase in targeted economic and political sanctions against all enterprises and individuals supporting the dictatorial regime of President Alexander Lukashenko," says Dr. Dmitry Shehigelsky, BiE co-founder.
The initiative to expand sanctions against the regime has been supported by major politicians and experts around the world, as they consider sanctions the only effective means of forcing Lukashenko to restore basic human rights in the country.
In the interview to Charter97, Harry Pahaniaila, the head of the legal department of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC) said: "No systematic changes in human rights sector have occurred in Belarus. The political tension has reduced in comparison with December 2010, but political prisoners still remain in jails, strict measures and preventive arrests are applied to opponents of the regime, NGOs and parties cannot pass official registration. The sanctions should remain."
Edward Lukas, the international editor of The Economist, speaking with the Belarusian organizations said:
"I think we could still do more with Magnitsky list type sanctions against top people of Lukashenka. They have money in the West - let's freeze it, they travel to the West - let's stop them: they cannot shop in the West, they can't get to school in the West, they cannot send their wives and their mistresses to the West."
"We are calling on the EU members and the US to review their trade policy with the Lukashenko regime and ban trade with state enterprises that direct profits to support the presidential administration. Over 50% of the money for Lukashenko comes from selling oil and potash abroad. We hope the EU and the US government will ban trade with the Belarusian State enterprises until all political prisoners are released and rehabilitated and free elections are restored," adds Dr. Shehigelsky.
SOURCE Belarusians in Exile