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Thread: Belarus. The Shame on the Doorstep of Europe.

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    Politics.ie Member ruserious's Avatar
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    Default Belarus. The Shame on the Doorstep of Europe.

    The Treaty of Rome signed in 1957 did something amazing. For the first time ever, the conditions necessary for peace in Europe were formed. Tying the economies together has made a reluctance to work together and the democratic credentials needed to be a member has ensured a lasting peace through the democratic peace theory.

    Europe even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

    All is fine and dandy on the European Continent then eh!?

    Not Quite. Bordering 3 EU States, lies Belarus. Under the control of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, he is often referred to as ''Europe's Last Dictator''.

    According to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE) after a review of the 2012 parliamentary elections:
    The legal framework does not adequately guarantee the conduct of elections in line with OSCE commitments and international standards. In particular, this includes key provisions
    concerning voter and candidate registration, election commission composition, election observation,
    election day procedures, and the complaints and appeals process.
    The Economist magazine wrote a very interesting article back in 2010 where it was noted that:
    Belarus's security service, which still calls itself the KGB, has filed charges against 17 opposition figures, among them seven presidential candidates who ran against Mr Lukashenka. They face up to 15 years in prison on charges of organising mass disturbances.
    Belarus's election: What should the EU do about Belarus? | The Economist

    The best line sums up the EU's efforts in the region:
    The EU's recent record of promoting democracy in former Soviet republics has been pitiful
    The EU handed down travel bans (oy vey!) to the Belorussian government following the 2010 presidential election. Offers of aid from Germany and several other EU states were ignored in return for free elections were ignored in favour of an oil deal with Russia.

    An excellent example of the police state in action surrounds the case of Andrei Sannikov, the main opposition runner in the 2010 Presidential election. He was incarcerated in a Minsk KGB facility for peacefully protesting at a demonstration after the elections, and faced up to a 15 year imprisonment. Amnesty International labeled him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release on the grounds that he may be facing torture and medical neglect while in custody. Not only that, but as the New York Times reported:
    The government warned recently that it might seize custody of the 3-year-old son of an opposition presidential candidate who was jailed along with his wife, a journalist. The authorities said that they were investigating the status of the child, who is now living with his grandmother, and that they expected to make a decision by the end of the month.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/wo...ef=todayspaper
    Sannikov was released in 2012 after a presidential pardon.

    It's very clear that this authoritarian police state runs contrary to the values of the European Union. Despite bordering 3 EU States, the EU to date has done little or nothing to support a democratic transition in the country.

    Is there something Europe can do or should it not get involved? Remember the Balkans conflict?

    The EU is developing it's foreign and security policy abroad with the development of EUFOR missions such as Chad and the battlegroups. Yet, close to home, nothing seems to be done to tackle the Belorussian regime.

    This is the current make up of parliament:

    The Green represents Lukashenko while the Red represents the Communist party of Belarus which supports the regime.

    I look forward to your thoughts.

    Rus.
    Boycott the "Irish" Sun rag.

  2. #2
    Politics.ie Member Boy M5's Avatar
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    Fully agree and good OP.

    The EU hasn't the will or the means.

    Thankyou for not appending the John Sweeney Newsnight footage (of shouty Scientoligist and N Korea student tour fame) of the torture the regime uses.

    Note that Adi Roche's charity effectively helps Belarus kids as the purple / fallout zone from Chernobyl has a large part in Belarus. Chernobyl is in the Ukraine
    "Keep firing & don't stop until I tell you" General Tom Barry

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    Politics.ie Member Lempo's Avatar
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    There has been quite an controversy brewing up over the ice-hockey world championships Belarus is supposed to host next year. Calls on EU lever to pressure IIHF to take the games away from them over the human rights issues. Apparently Lukashenko is a bit of a hockey fanatic and it would hurt him very personally. The matter seems to be in a bit of a limbo at the moment but is bound to rise up again after this years' championships are over in Sweden today.

    Opponents though question, quite rightfully perhaps, why there has not been similar calls about the Beijing Olympics or about Soths Olympics in Russia in 2014, saying that marginal sports seem to be a bit special and the ban-callers seem to have little problem sitting in the VIP boxes in these other events in other problematic countries.

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    From the perspective of the European ruling class, dictatorships are only a problem if they are a hindrance to business or a threat to strategic interests. So the China example is appropriate it is and was an extremely oppressive dictatorship, an effective authoritarian regime. However since it abandoned "communism", "state capitalism" or whatever you call it and embraced the "free market", Europe is happy to deal with China and , not very often, offer some feather light criticism of they human rights record of the regime. It's the reason Franco was left in place after the "war against fascism" in Europe, the reason Putin's anti democratic regime is tolerated etc.

    For Europe business is business, everything else is secondary. Don't hold your braeth for any action on Belarus.

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    Politics.ie Member jcdf's Avatar
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    Why has the EU done so little about Belarus? In one word Russia. With Putin in charge of Russia their support of Belarus will continue.

    Belarus is a small country with a small population who can easily emigrate to the EU if they wish. The EU probably does not consider the trouble coming from intervention to be worth it, especially when there are still so many half formed democracies throughout eastern Europe that require continuous support like the former Yugoslavian states and the Ukraine. It is just not worth it. All it would do would antagonize Russia, whose support is required in dealing in the Slavic nations.

    With the European economic crisis ongoing we cannot afford to take upon ourselves too many more liabilities. Just so long as the Belarus leadership do not start any mass genocides we can ignore their minor transgressions for now.
    Economic Left/Right: -0.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.77

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    Politics.ie Member ruserious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlemicky2012 View Post
    For Europe business is business, everything else is secondary. Don't hold your braeth for any action on Belarus.
    Although, counter to that, if Belarus did become a liberal democratic state, it would eventually probably join the EU which would open up the markets to another 10 million people.
    Boycott the "Irish" Sun rag.

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    Politics.ie Member publicrealm's Avatar
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    According to Wikipedia the west is already financing anti-government NGOs inside the country.

    n 2004, the United States passed the Belarus Democracy Act, which authorized funding for pro-democracy Belarusian NGOs, and proscribed loans to the Belarusian government, except for humanitarian purposes.[100] Despite this political friction, the two countries do cooperate on intellectual property protection, prevention of human trafficking, technology crime, and disaster relief.[101] Sino-Belarusian relations have improved,[102] strengthened by the visit of President Lukashenko to China in October 2005.[103] Belarus also has strong ties with Syria,[104] considered a key partner in the Middle East.[105] In addition to the CIS, Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation,[97] the international Non-Aligned Movement since 1998,[106] the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the UN since its founding in 1945. As an OSCE member state, Belarus's international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.[107]

    Belarus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    I'm not sure that this is any of our business really.
    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons......

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    Politics.ie Member ruserious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by publicrealm View Post
    According to Wikipedia the west is already financing anti-government NGOs inside the country.

    n 2004, the United States passed the Belarus Democracy Act, which authorized funding for pro-democracy Belarusian NGOs, and proscribed loans to the Belarusian government, except for humanitarian purposes.[100] Despite this political friction, the two countries do cooperate on intellectual property protection, prevention of human trafficking, technology crime, and disaster relief.[101] Sino-Belarusian relations have improved,[102] strengthened by the visit of President Lukashenko to China in October 2005.[103] Belarus also has strong ties with Syria,[104] considered a key partner in the Middle East.[105] In addition to the CIS, Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation,[97] the international Non-Aligned Movement since 1998,[106] the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the UN since its founding in 1945. As an OSCE member state, Belarus's international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.[107]

    Belarus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    I'm not sure that this is any of our business really.

    To use an oft-used cliche. "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing." From Edward Burke
    Boycott the "Irish" Sun rag.

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    Politics.ie Member Boy M5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruserious View Post
    To use an oft-used cliche. "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing." From Edward Burke
    Was that one of Edmund Burke's?
    "Keep firing & don't stop until I tell you" General Tom Barry

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    Politics.ie Member ruserious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boy M5 View Post
    Was that one of Edmund Burke's?
    Widely attributed to him at least.
    Boycott the "Irish" Sun rag.

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