Durbin, Kaine, And Murphy Express Support For Belarusian Presidential Candidate

WASHINGTONU.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) today spoke with Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and expressed support for her candidacy and condemned the sham election that took place in August. Durbin, Kaine, and Murphy recently introduced a bipartisan resolution rejecting the discredited election results, condemning Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenko’s crackdown on peaceful protestors, and calling for the imposition of sanctions on responsible officials.  Just before the August 9th Belarusian election, Durbin led a Senate-passed resolution calling for a credible vote and the release of political prisoners.  

“History is repeating itself once again in Belarus, and the United States cannot stand idly by as the Last Dictator of Europe continues to rob his people of the basic freedoms enjoyed by the rest of Europe.  Today, I told Tikhanovskaya that the Senate stands with her and the brave people of Belarus as they continue to push for freedom from Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule and for a more democratic nation,” Durbin said.

“Our discussion with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya only reinforced my belief that the U.S. needs to take stronger actions to hold Alexander Lukashenko’s regime accountable for its violent repression of peaceful protests. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee on measures to support the people of Belarus in their struggle against ‘Europe’s last dictator,’” Kaine said.

“Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protestors are rising up in Belarus to demand free and fair elections and the right to determine their own future. I was inspired today to speak with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who has bravely continued to lead this movement in the face of Lukashenko’s brutal, systematic crackdown on opposition leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers and peaceful protestors.  I am urging my Senate colleagues to pass our resolution this week urging the Trump administration to stand up for human rights and impose sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for the crackdown,” said Murphy.

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.