On April 2nd, deputies of the House of Representatives adopted in the first reading amendments to laws on countering extremism and a bill on mass events.

The bills mentioned were developed and adopted in violation of the principles of constitutionality, transparency, protection of the rights, freedoms, and interests of citizens, legal entities, society, and the state (the law “On Normative Legal Acts”).

Under the pretext of countering extremism, the authorities are introducing new legal norms, which are nothing more than an attempt to justify massive political repression in the country. By such steps, the authorities violate the rights and freedoms of dissenting citizens. The adoption of such laws finally undermines public confidence in the authorities.

We, the members of the Coordination Council, are concerned about the adoption of these bills. For the authorities, they will become another instrument of repression against civil society, including the Coordination Council.

The Coordination Council of Belarus was created and operates exclusively in the legal field, based on the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, humanistic and democratic values. We never set a goal to seize power, did not call for the organization and preparation of actions that violate the legislation of Belarus. We condemn any violent acts, terrorism in all its manifestations, violations of the rule of law, and human rights.

We are disgusted by the vote of the deputies of the House of Representatives for the adoption of bills that do not reflect the request of society and voters, serve as instruments of repression, and grossly violate the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the right to liberty, inviolability, and dignity of the individual, freedom of opinion, belief, associations, peaceful assemblies, and rallies, obtaining and using information.

The Coordinating Council once again declares that overcoming the political crisis in the country is possible only based on reaching public consent and reconciliation of all positions, opinions, beliefs significant in society, and calls for a broad civil dialogue.

In connection with the actions taken by the authorities, the Coordination Council sent an appeal to international organizations (the UN Secretary-General, the UN Human Rights Committee, the President of the European Commission, the OSCE President, the President of the European Parliament, the US Department of State, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as well as to the representatives of foreign states in Belarus), in which he informed about violations of the rights of Belarusians and asked for support from international institutions.

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