LONDON, Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A failure to extend sanctions against Belarusian companies and businessmen that prop by the despotic rule of President Lukashenko is crippling attempts to dislodge Europe's last dictator.
On 15 October this year the EU Council expanded sanctions against Belarus due to ongoing human rights abuses in the country. The ruling was designed to freeze assets and impose travel restrictions on companies and individuals that are propping up President Lukashenko's despotic rule.
However, despite the ruling, the sanction list has not been updated, allowing the companies that are most responsible for financially supporting the regime to continue trading with UK and EU companies.
Belarusians in Exile today wrote to members of Parliaments of Poland, Norway, and Sweden – counties with substantial volume of trade with Belarus, to press for greater sanctions. The organization also sent letters to 27 foreign ministers – members of the EU Security Council.EU countries predominantly import oil products and potash fertilizers from Belarus. Most of the funds received by Belarusian companies exporting oil and potash to the UK and other EU countries are directed to the government to support the regime. Jamison Firestone, the human rights lawyer who is working on behalf of BiE, said: "Sanctioning the companies and the people heading Belarusian businesses in this sphere must be a top priority for an effective program of sanctions that encourages positive change. "We hope for the vigorous support of the EU Member States in the fight for human rights and political freedom in Belarus." BiE has asked the British government, to immediately take the following steps:
- Strengthen the economic sanctions against Belarus by including the Belarusian companies that provide a significant share of foreign exchange earnings, which are used to support the Lukashenko regime;
- Include in the "black list" of Belarusian individuals who are banned from entering the UK, the officials and businessmen running these companies.