The winds of change are blowing in Belarus, whether current president Alexander Lukashenko wants it or not.
Belarus is known as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’, and for the past 26 years Lukashenko has treated it as his own private marching grounds.
Alexander Lukashenko was elected by the people of Belarus in 1994 on an anti-corruption platform. He has betrayed his mandate and the trust of his people on many occasions during his 26 years as president.
Last Sunday, citizens of Belarus cast their ballots in the hopes that their vote would help the country move forward. In what is now being recognised as a sham election, Lukashenko claimed an improbable landslide victory over his opponent, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
Risking their lives and livelihoods, thousands have taken to the streets across the country to tell the government they will not stand another stolen election.
The government has responded with unprecedented brutality, mass detentions, including of journalists, and even torture, violently suppressing protesters’ rights and freedoms.
In this critical moment, Transparency International is calling on the international community to come together and step up support to the people of Belarus through all diplomatic and political means available.
One way to do so is through targeted sanctions against the regime’s representatives who have committed unprecedented violence against the people.
Individual sanctions in the form of asset freezes and travel bans against those perpetrating or aiding violence have the potential to hurt the authoritarian regime at the highest level and encourage them to listen to the clear demands of the people.
We also want to express our unequivocal solidarity with the courageous people of Belarus.
Viral videos show workers striking in protest, former officers throwing away their uniforms to condemn violence by security forces, and people exchanging flowers in solidarity with one another.
People of Belarus have spoken. Their peaceful resistance is already changing the history of their country.
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