Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement on the situation in Belarus on the anniversary of the presidential elections in Belarus on 9 August:
One year after the elections in Belarus, which were neither free nor fair, it is clear that 9 August 2020 was a turning point in Belarusian history. An entire country is being held hostage by Alexander Lukashenko.
Led by courageous women such as Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Maria Kolesnikova, people are continuing to take to the streets in peaceful protest against state violence. They are calling for a democratic new beginning, free and fair new elections and the release of political prisoners. Their protest and perseverance have been the subject of admiration, solidarity and support around the world.
After all, it is clear that a regime that arrests tens of thousands of its citizens owing to peaceful protests, locking them away, torturing them and forcing them into exile, has lost all political and moral legitimacy.
Germany and the European Union therefore stand by the people of Belarus who are fighting to ensure respect for fundamental democratic values and human rights. We will not allow for them to be silenced. Alongside political support, we have therefore set up practical assistance with our action plan for civil society in Belarus in order to support victims of political persecution.