Durbin Joins Colleagues To Introduce Bipartisan Resolution In Support Of Belarusian People

WASHINGTON – Following the disputed presidential elections in Belarus on September 9, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) today to introduce a bipartisan resolution condemning the crackdown on peaceful protestors in Belarus and calling for the imposition of sanctions on responsible officials.

“I will never forget traveling to Minsk in January 2011 to meet with the families of opposition candidates jailed by Lukashenko for having had the temerity to run against him in the sham presidential election just the month before,” Durbin said.  “And now history is repeating itself once again.  That the Last Dictator of Europe continues to rob his people of the basic freedoms enjoyed by the rest of Europe is a tragedy that must be condemned.  This bipartisan resolution shows that the United States Senate rejects the recent discredited election and will continue to stand with the brave people of Belarus in their hopes for a more democratic country.”

Along with Durbin, Risch, Menendez, Murphy, and Rubio, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) are also cosponsors of the resolution. 

Last month, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution, introduced by Durbin, Rubio, and Cardin, which called for a free, fair, and transparent presidential election in Belarus, including the unimpeded participation of all presidential candidates.   After Durbin’s visit to Belarus in 2011, he was joined by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in passing a resolution condemning the stolen 2010 election and arrest of opposition candidates.

According to the United States Department of State 2019 Human Rights country Report on Belarus, long-term strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenko has consolidated his rule over all institutions since his first term as president, undermined the rule of law through authoritarian means, including manipulated elections and arbitrary decrees, such that all subsequent presidential elections fell well short of international standards.

Full text of today’s resolution can be found here.