Text: H.R.854 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Bill Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 108-347 (10/20/2004)
[108th Congress Public Law 347]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[[Page 118 STAT. 1383]]
Public Law 108-347
To provide for the promotion of democracy, human rights, and rule of law
in the Republic of Belarus and for the consolidation and strengthening
of Belarus sovereignty and independence. <<NOTE: Oct. 20, 2004 - [H.R.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: Belarus Democracy Act of 2004. 22 USC 5811
note.>> SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Belarus Democracy Act of 2004''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS. <<NOTE: 22 USC 5811 note.>>
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The United States supports the promotion of democracy,
respect for human rights, and the rule of law in the Republic of
Belarus consistent with its commitments as a participating state
of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(2) The United States has a vital interest in the
independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus and its
integration into the European community of democracies.
(3) In November 1996, Lukashenka orchestrated an illegal and
unconstitutional referendum that enabled him to impose a new
constitution, abolish the duly-elected parliament, the 13th
Supreme Soviet, install a largely powerless National Assembly,
and extend his term of office to 2001.
(4) Democratic forces in Belarus have organized peaceful
demonstrations against the Lukashenka regime in cities and towns
throughout Belarus which led to beatings, mass arrests, and
(5) <<NOTE: Victor Gonchar. Anatoly Krasovsky. Yuri
Zakharenka. Dmitry Zavadsky.>> Victor Gonchar, Anatoly
Krasovsky, and Yuri Zakharenka, who have been leaders and
supporters of the democratic forces in Belarus, and Dmitry
Zavadsky, a journalist known for his critical reporting in
Belarus, have disappeared and are presumed dead.
(6) Former Belarus Government officials have come forward
with credible allegations and evidence that top officials of the
Lukashenka regime were involved in the disappearances.
(7) The Belarusian authorities have mounted a major
systematic crackdown on civil society through the closure,
harassment, and repression of nongovernmental organizations, and
independent trade unions.
(8) The Belarusian authorities actively suppress freedom of
speech and expression, including engaging in systematic
reprisals against independent media.
[[Page 118 STAT. 1384]]
(9) The Lukashenka regime has reversed the revival of
Belarusian language and culture, including through the closure
of the National Humanities Lyceum, the last remaining high
school where classes were taught in the Belarusian language.
(10) The Lukashenka regime harasses the autocephalic
Belarusian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the
Jewish community, the Hindu Lights of Kalyasa community,
evangelical Protestant churches (such as Baptist and Pentecostal
groups), and other minority religious groups.
(11) The Law on Religious Freedom and Religious
Organizations, passed by the National Assembly and signed by
Lukashenka on October 31, 2002, establishes one of the most
repressive legal regimes in the OSCE region, severely limiting
religious freedom and placing excessively burdensome government
controls on religious practice.
(12) The parliamentary elections of October 15, 2000, and
the presidential election of September 9, 2001, were determined
to be fundamentally unfair and nondemocratic.
(13) The Government of Belarus has made no substantive
progress in addressing criteria established by the OSCE in 2000,
ending repression and the climate of fear, permitting a
functioning independent media, ensuring transparency of the
elections process, and strengthening of the functions of
SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 22 USC 5811 note.>> ASSISTANCE TO PROMOTE DEMOCRACY AND
CIVIL SOCIETY IN BELARUS.
(a) Purposes of Assistance.--The assistance under this section
shall be available for the following purposes:
(1) To assist the people of the Republic of Belarus in
regaining their freedom and to enable them to join the European
community of democracies.
(2) To encourage free and fair presidential, parliamentary,
and local elections in Belarus, conducted in a manner consistent
with internationally accepted standards and under the
supervision of internationally recognized observers.
(3) To assist in restoring and strengthening institutions of
democratic governance in Belarus.
(b) <<NOTE: President.>> Authorization for Assistance.--To carry out
the purposes of subsection (a), the President is authorized to furnish
assistance and other support for the activities described in subsection
(c), to be provided primarily for indigenous Belarusian groups that are
committed to the support of democratic processes.
(c) Activities Supported.--Activities that may be supported by
assistance under subsection (b) include--
(1) the observation of elections and the promotion of free
and fair electoral processes;
(2) development of democratic political parties;
(3) radio and television broadcasting to and within Belarus;
(4) the development of nongovernmental organizations
promoting democracy and supporting human rights;
(5) the development of independent media working within
Belarus and from locations outside the country and supported by
nonstate-controlled printing facilities;
(6) international exchanges and advanced professional
training programs for leaders and members of the democratic
[[Page 118 STAT. 1385]]
forces in skill areas central to the development of civil
(7) other activities consistent with the purposes of this
(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--
(1) In general.-- There are authorized to be appropriated to
the President to carry out this section such sums as may be
necessary for each of the fiscal years 2005 and 2006.
(2) Availability of funds.--Amounts appropriated pursuant to
the authorization of appropriations under paragraph (1) are
authorized to remain available until expended.
SEC. 4. RADIO BROADCASTING TO BELARUS. <<NOTE: 22 USC 5811 note.>>
(a) Purpose.--It is the purpose of this section to authorize
increased support for United States Government and surrogate radio
broadcasting to the Republic of Belarus that will facilitate the
unhindered dissemination of information.
(b) Authorization of Appropriations.--In addition to such sums as
are otherwise authorized to be appropriated, there are authorized to be
appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2005 and each
subsequent fiscal year for radio broadcasting to the people of Belarus
in languages spoken in Belarus.
SEC. 5. <<NOTE: 22 USC 5811 note.>> SENSE OF CONGRESS RELATING TO
SANCTIONS AGAINST BELARUS.
(a) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the
sanctions described in subsection (c) should apply with respect to the
Republic of Belarus until the President determines and certifies to the
appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Belarus has
made significant progress in meeting the conditions described in
(b) Conditions.--The conditions referred to in subsection (a) are
(1) The release of individuals in Belarus who have been
jailed based on political or religious beliefs.
(2) The withdrawal of politically motivated legal charges
against all opposition figures and independent journalists in
(3) A full accounting of the disappearances of opposition
leaders and journalists in Belarus, including Victor Gonchar,
Anatoly Krasovsky, Yuri Zakharenka, and Dmitry Zavadsky, and the
prosecution of those individuals who are responsible for their
(4) The cessation of all forms of harassment and repression
against the independent media, independent trade unions,
nongovernmental organizations, religious organizations
(including their leadership and members), and the political
opposition in Belarus.
(5) The implementation of free and fair presidential and
parliamentary elections in Belarus consistent with OSCE
(c) Prohibition on Loans and Investment.--
(1) United states government financing.--No loan, credit
guarantee, insurance, financing, or other similar financial
assistance should be extended by any agency of the United States
Government (including the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas
Private Investment Corporation) to the Government
[[Page 118 STAT. 1386]]
of Belarus, except with respect to the provision of humanitarian
goods and agricultural or medical products.
(2) Trade and development agency.--No funds available to the
Trade and Development Agency should be available for activities
of the Agency in or for Belarus.
(d) Multilateral Financial Assistance.--It is further the sense of
Congress that, in addition to the application of the sanctions described
in subsection (c) to the Republic of Belarus (until the President
determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees
that the Government of Belarus has made significant progress in meeting
the conditions described in subsection (b)), the Secretary of the
Treasury should instruct the United States Executive Director of each
international financial institution to which the United States is a
member to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose any
extension by those institutions of any financial assistance (including
any technical assistance or grant) of any kind to the Government of
Belarus, except for loans and assistance that serve humanitarian needs.
SEC. 6. MULTILATERAL COOPERATION. <<NOTE: 22 USC 5811 note.>>
It is the sense of Congress that the President should continue to
seek to coordinate with other countries, particularly European
countries, a comprehensive, multilateral strategy to further the
purposes of this Act, including, as appropriate, encouraging other
countries to take measures with respect to the Republic of Belarus that
are similar to measures described in this Act.
SEC. 7. REPORT. <<NOTE: 22 USC 5811 note.>>
(a) Report.-- Not later than 90 days after the date of the
enactment of this Act, and not later than 1 year thereafter, the
President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a
report that describes, with respect to the preceding 12-month period,
and to the extent practicable the following:
(1) The sale or delivery of weapons or weapons-related
technologies from the Republic of Belarus to any country, the
government of which the Secretary of State has determined, for
purposes of section 6(j)(1) of the Export Administration Act of
1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 2405(j)(1)), has repeatedly provided
support for acts of international terrorism.
(2) An identification of each country described in paragraph
(1) and a detailed description of the weapons or weapons-related
technologies involved in the sale.
(3) An identification of the goods, services, credits, or
other consideration received by Belarus in exchange for the
weapons or weapons-related technologies.
(4) The personal assets and wealth of Aleksandr Lukashenka
and other senior leadership of the Government of Belarus.
(b) Form.--A report transmitted pursuant to subsection (a) shall be
in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.
SEC. 8. DECLARATION OF POLICY. <<NOTE: 22 USC 5811 note.>>
(1) calls upon the Lukashenka regime to cease its
persecution of political opponents or independent journalists
and to release those individuals who have been imprisoned for
opposing his regime or for exercising their right to freedom of
[[Page 118 STAT. 1387]]
(2) expresses its grave concern about the disappearance of
Victor Gonchar, Anatoly Krasovsky, Yuri Zakharenko, and Dmitry
Zavadsky and calls upon the Lukashenka regime to cooperate fully
with the Belrussian civil initiative ``We Remember'' and to
extend to this organization all necessary information to find
out the truth about the disappearances;
(3) calls upon the Lukashenka regime to cooperate fully with
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and
its specially appointed representatives in matters regarding the
resolution of the cases of the disappeared; and
(4) commends the democratic opposition in Belarus for their
commitment to participate in October 2004 Parliamentary
elections as a unified coalition and for their courage in the
face of the repression of the Lukashenka regime in Belarus.
SEC. 9. DEFINITIONS. <<NOTE: 22 USC 5811 note.>>
In this Act:
(1) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term
``appropriate congressional committees'' means the Committee on
International Relations of the House of Representatives and the
Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
(2) OSCE.--The term ``OSCE'' means the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe.
(3) Senior leadership of the government of belarus.--The
term ``senior leadership of the Government of Belarus''
(A) the President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime
Ministers, government ministers, Chairmen of State
Committees, and members of the Presidential
Administration of Belarus;
(B) any official of the Government of Belarus who is
personally and substantially involved in the suppression
of freedom in Belarus, including judges and prosecutors;
(C) any other individual determined by the Secretary
of State (or the Secretary's designee) to be personally
and substantially involved in the formulation or
execution of the policies of the Lukashenka regime that
are in contradiction of internationally recognized human
Approved October 20, 2004.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 854:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 150 (2004):
Oct. 4, considered and passed House.
Oct. 6, considered and passed Senate.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 40 (2004):
Oct. 20, Presidential statement.