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Human Rights Commissioner to travel to Belarus (25-27 February 2009)

25.02.2009 - Press release

Günter Nooke, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, will leave tonight (25 February) on a two-day trip to Minsk with the Human Rights Ambassadors from Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands.

The goal of the joint trip is to get an impression of the current domestic political developments following the release of political prisoners and last September's parliamentary elections. With this aim in mind, the Commissioner and the Ambassadors will hold talks with First Deputy Interior Minister Kuleshov, Deputy Minister of Justice Bodak and representatives of the Foreign Ministry. Additionally, the delegation will meet for discussions with representatives of the opposition and civil society.

Before embarking on the visit the Commissioner issued the following statement:

"The latest steps on the way to democratic reforms should be welcomed. The path to real and lasting reforms must, however, entail many more substantial steps – including a dialogue with the opposition and civil society."

In March the Foreign Ministers of the European Union will discuss further suspending the sanctions imposed on Belarus. Democratic reforms and respecting human rights in Belarus are the preconditions for a complete lifting of the sanctions.

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