Latvian Transatlantic Organisation, European Movement – Latvia, Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation and Latvian Conservative Youth Movement call for Latvian politicians to express clear opinion on the latest developments in Belarus and condemn the use of force against the people and the presidential candidates from the opposition. The protest resulted in arrests of more than 600 people, of which 18 (including official candidates of presidential elections) are now facing imprisonment of up to 15 years.
There is a general impression that politicians in Latvia are avoiding to provide stronger comments on human rights violations in Belarus referring to the events in Belarus as to their internal matter. However just 5 years ago we openly criticized the violation of human rights in Belarus, we were amongst the promoters of democratic development of Belarus and morally supported people who dared to disagree with the ruling authoritarian regime and to speak openly about the situation in the country.
We wish to remind that violation of fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly are universal and stand above national borders of a particular country (according to Helsinki Act 1975 ). We must not forget that it was also due to the firm support of the West that made a dream of independent and free Latvia a reality just 20 years ago. Therefore, it is our moral duty to be aware of and be consistent with our national foreign policy goals in a way that would not benefit exclusive short-term economic interests, but also confirm that Latvia remains a strong defender of democratic values in its long-term policies towards neighbors as the only means of stable and prosperous regional development.
We should always remember the importance of international support Latvia received while striving for development of democracy and rights of self-determination. These are the values that stand at the core of our independence and unite 27 countries under the EU. Consistent policy towards neighbors both at national and EU levels is crucial to reinstate these values as the only way to the development that benefits individuals and societies across the countries and the only way to avoid the situation when solidarity, democracy and human rights are values that exist only on the official web pages and statements.
Latvian Transatlantic Organisation