– Lithuania and Poland are currently facing a security test. I would like to ask Poland and Lithuania to remain strong in the face of the actions of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime – Belarusian oppositionist Swiatłana Cichanouska said in the EP.
During her speech in the European Parliament, the leader of the Belarusian opposition referred to the migration crisis behind which, as she emphasized, is the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
– Let us not allow the regime to manipulate migrants. (…) Belarusians and migrants are now hostages of the regime – she pointed.
She also appealed to the EP for solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus.
– At the moment, there are more political prisoners in Belarus than there are members of the European Parliament. Exactly 882. If we were to invite all Belarusians who are in prisons, there would not be enough places for them, she said.
I am honored to be in Strasbourg today for the @Europarl_EN Plenary Session at the invitation of @EP_President. This is an amazing opportunity to address MEPs, to be the voice of all Belarusians courageously fighting for the values we share – freedom, democracy, human rights. pic.twitter.com/z12yXSeKu4
– Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) November 24, 2021
Cichanouska spoke of the Belarusian regime’s terrifying crackdown on demonstrators and opposition votes after the rigged presidential elections last August. She recalled all the people imprisoned, targeted and even killed by Belarusian security forces, such as the human rights defender Ales Bialiatski, blogger Raman Pratasiewicz, political activist Maria Kalesnikawa, art teacher Raman Bandarenka, journalists Daria Czulcowa and Katsiaryna Andrejewa, Olympian Kryskascina Cimanouskascina and many others, as well as about the recent crisis related to migrants on the EU border with Belarus.
– Assuming that these abuses against migrants are somehow contained, do you really think that this will end the abuses and threats to the regime beyond its borders?
– she turned to MEPs with such a question. It also warned against an increase in smuggled drugs and other contraband, military provocations and even potential nuclear disasters at the EU’s external borders.
She also stressed that the Belarusian democratic movement cannot afford to wait longer for Europe, that European expressions of solidarity and concern must now be turned into concrete actions, and that Europe must become more proactive in the face of autocracy.
– Will the EU have the courage to take decisive action against the regime in Minsk or will Belarusians wait another year. We do not have another year anymore, neither does Belarus nor Europe. We can do much more than just wait
– she pointed.
Regarding European sanctions, she said: “Let me assure you, the sanctions are working. Continue a consistent policy of sanctions. Sanctions break up the elite, destroy corruption systems and divide people around Lukashenka,” she stressed.
She also criticized Western European media for calling Lukashenka president.
– European media, such as Deutsche Welle or the BBC, talk about President Lukashenka. He is not. He is someone who is unlawfully usurping power he has gained by force. We are calling on Europe not to recognize him as president, she said.
She also called on Europe and Belarusian democratic forces for greater solidarity.
– Let us not forget about Belarusian prisoners of conscience and let us help those who were forced to leave the country. Today, not only democracy in Belarus, but also democracy in Europe depends on whether we go this path together, she concluded. MEPs awarded her speech with long applause.
Watch now: https://t.co/OCU2siQF3W
– AFET Committee Press (@EP_ForeignAff) November 24, 2021
A separate plenary debate was also held on Tuesday afternoon, with the participation of European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, on the security and humanitarian consequences of the situation in Belarus and its border with the EU.
Source: niezalezna.pl, PAP