Belarus: Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell

On Sunday 16 August, the largest rally in Belarusian modern history took place. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians took to the streets all across Belarus to participate in the Freedom March. These peaceful demonstrations had clear demands: the release of all unlawfully detained people, the prosecution of those responsible for police brutality, and holding of new presidential elections.

The sheer numbers clearly show that the Belarusian population wants change, and wants it now. The EU stands by them.

With more and more shocking reports of inhumane conditions and treatment in places of detention, the European Union expects a thorough and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses, in order to hold those responsible to account. The European Union Delegation to Belarus has conveyed our expectations to the Belarusian authorities.

As agreed by the EU Foreign Ministers at our recent video conference, the EU is working on new listings for sanctions against those responsible for violence, repression of peaceful protests, and the falsification of election results.

As announced by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, EU Heads of State or Government will discuss the situation in Belarus on Wednesday, where I will update them on progress on these EU initiatives.

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