Belarus leader of the opposition, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, urged the European Union not to overlook the plight of regular Belarusians and political dissidents on Wednesday.
The EU is preparing further measures in response to a deteriorating situation at its borders. This is attributed to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, according to Tsikhanouskaya.
Human Rights in Belarus are Appalling
“882 of my fellow compatriots have been acknowledged as being in jail for practicing basic democratic freedoms that people from the rest of Europe take lightly,” Tsikhanouskaya told EU legislators.
She encouraged the 27-nation bloc not to acknowledge Lukashenko or his administration, and to increase public support. “It’s past my bedtime. There have been several acts and displays of support since August 2020.”
Belarusians are hailed for “reinvigorating their trust in democracy and human decency,” according to her. “Isn’t it time for Europeans to show their devotion to those principles by taking action?”
Trying to press Alexander Lukashenko on human rights in Belarus. You can watch a 24-min version of our interview today on @BBCWorld at 0930, 1530 & 1830 GMT. Also here https://t.co/o6hOfVjZN2 Camera/edit @mattgodtv Camera @AntonChicherov Producer @BBCWillVernon @BBCNews pic.twitter.com/d8TQoqsehn
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) November 22, 2021
Her comments come as the EU proceeds to announce its sixth package of travel bans and financial sanctions on Belarus. This will include Lukashenko and his friends, cabinet members, security services, judicial officials, and other institutions.
As per a draft text reviewed by the Associated Press, the sanctions will also target commercial airlines and travel organizations.
These airlines and organizations are ones accused by the EU of assisting in the transport of immigrants to Belarus; this was done with the goal of assisting them in crossing into Europe, mostly through Poland, Lithuania, as well as Latvia.
This is a Man-Made Crisis
The EU claims Lukashenko is exploiting immigrants in a “hybrid strike” to undermine the bloc. This is reportedly happening in retaliation for sanctions imposed on him.
These sanctions are following a disputed election last year that granted Belarus’ authoritarian leader a sixth term in power and the security operation that ensued.
— NoeWehrtSich (@NoeWehrtSich) November 13, 2021
With this in mind, the EU has set its sights on Belavia, a Belarusian airline. The EU is also looking into Cham Wing Airlines, which flies from Damascus to Belarus.
Over the summertime, Cham Wing Airlines was accused of increasing trips from Damascus to Minsk and establishing new offices in Minsk’s city to help arrange the shuttles.
Tsentrkurort, a Department of Tourism firm, is also on the list (according to the EU) for assisting at least 51 Iraqis in obtaining visas to Belarus and organizing bus transportation to the border.
Hotel Minsk, as well as Hotel Planeta, have been accused of housing migrants attempting to cross the border. VIP Grub, a visa and immigration business situated in Istanbul, Turkey, will also be targeted by the EU.
The business “arranges trips to Belarus with the deliberate goal of assisting immigration to the EU,” according to the draft penalties listing. VIP Grub strongly promotes migration to the European Union.”
The penalties are expected to be authorized within the next several days.