EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Belarus Orders International Watchdog – OSCE -To Close Its Minsk Office

Posted by Info on 31/12/2010

The world’s largest regional security organization, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) must close its doors in Minsk, after the Belarusian government refused to extend its mandate. The OSCE had criticized the election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The OSCE issued a report critical of the December election, in which incumbent President Alexander Lukaschenko won around 80 percent of votes.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said that an evaluation of the OSCE’s activities in Minsk showed that the mission, which was set up in 2003, had fulfilled its mandate. The government has the right to revoke the mission’s permit or refuse to renew it.

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1992, has been accused by Western leaders in the past of dictatorial rule and suppressing independent media.
Minsk is still holding hundreds of demonstrators who were arrested during protests following the December 19 election.
Five opposition candidates and 22 activists have been charged with organizing mass disorder, which could carry a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Belarus is part of the 56-member OSCE, which was set up during the Cold War as a forum for dialogue between communist states and the West.

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