Human rights’ activists protest against Makey visit in Brussels

Some 15 people demonstrated in Brussels on Monday to protest Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey’s visit to the Belgian capital. Organized by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the 30-minute event took place in Schuman Square where the offices of major European Union institutions are located.

Mr. Makey was expected to attend a meeting of the foreign ministers of member countries of the European Union and the Eastern Partnership on Monday.
The demonstrators displayed images of Belarus` political prisoners and chanted slogans demanding that they be freed. They were wearing T-shirts bearing an image of Ales Byalyatski, a Belarusian human rights defender who has been held behind bars for nearly two years.
Antoine Madelin, director for intergovernmental organizations at the FIDH, said that the UN had repeatedly condemned the situation in Belarus, but no progress had been observed in the past two and a half years.

He noted that the EU was holding dialogue with Belarusian officials involved in human rights abuse. The EU should have lifted its entry ban on Mr. Makey only if the political prisoners had been released and human rights respect had been secured, Mr. Madelin stressed.
Sasha Kulayeva, head of the FIDH`s Eastern Europe and Central Asia department, said that the demonstration was meant to urge the EU to have a more balanced attitude toward the situation in Belarus and possible change in the country.
She suggested that the EU should adopt a roadmap for securing change in Belarus where the release of political prisoners would be just one of several requirements for Minsk.