26 August 2020
Together with the European Youth Forum, the European Union of Jewish Students wrote an open letter to EU High Representative Josep Borell Fontelles ahead of the informal meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers to call on them to act decisively for democracy in Belarus. Find the open letter below:
Dear Mr. Borrell Fontelles
Ahead of the informal meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers on 27-28 August, the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), the democratic representation of 160.000 young Jews across Europe together with the European Youth Forum, call for urgent action concerning the ongoing political crisis in Belarus.
Peaceful protesters, including many young people, have taken to the streets across Belarus over the recent presidential elections and have been faced with police brutality, repression of their freedom of expression, and arbitrary detention. In some instances, clashes between police and protesters have resulted in the death of peaceful protesters. Independent Belarusian and international organizations – among them EU institutions – have condemned violence against civilians and stated that the elections, according to international standards, were neither free nor fair.
Young people have been at the forefront of this battle – they are risking their lives to stand up for a future in their country that respects fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, and democracy. The National Youth Council of Belarus (RADA), a democratic and independent platform of youth organisations in Belarus, has been actively involved in the peaceful protests, supporting protesters, and documenting human rights violations. RADA promotes and safeguards fundamental rights and freedoms for young Belarusians and is a member of the European Youth Forum. Young members of the Jewish community in Belarus have been arbitrarily detained, beaten, and tortured.
The aftermath of the election is the most recent example of the ongoing crackdown on human rights in Belarus. We stand in solidarity with our fellow youth organisation and all young people calling for the respect of civil and political rights.
To this end, we call on national governments and the EU to foster the momentum for democratic change in Belarus and implement coordinated action to:
Immediately stop any violence, inhumane and degrading treatment, including torture, and release all detained protesters and jailed political prisoners.
Call for a new election under the supervision of a new Electoral Commission trusted by all parties and support a plan that ensures the country’s peaceful democratic transition led by the people of Belarus.
Continue monitoring the situation in Belarus and take action when necessary, including the reassessment of diplomatic, political, and economic relations with the current regime in Belarus, in accordance with EU values and human rights principles.
Strengthen assistance to the people of Belarus, including providing support to democratic and independent civil society organisations in Belarus, and ensure protection and safety for activists and human rights defenders at risk of prosecution.
We, the European Union of Jewish Students together with the European Youth Forum, encourage you to support any action that will foster peace and democracy in the country and will protect the people in Belarus.
President European Union of Jewish Students