Text: H.Res.652 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Engrossed in House (07/22/2004)

 
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Res. 652 Engrossed in House (EH)]


                 In the House of Representatives, U.S.,

                                                         July 22, 2004.
Whereas the establishment of a democratic, transparent, and fair election 
        process for the 2004 parliamentary elections in the Republic of Belarus 
        and of a genuinely democratic political system are prerequisites for 
        that country's integration into the Western community of nations;
Whereas the Government of Belarus has accepted numerous specific commitments 
        governing the conduct of elections as a participating State of the 
        Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including 
        provisions of the Copenhagen Document;
Whereas the election in the fall of 2004 of Belarus's next parliament will 
        provide an unambiguous test of the extent of the Belarusian authorities' 
        commitment to implement these standards and build a democratic society 
        based on free elections and the rule of law;
Whereas previous parliamentary elections in Belarus have not fully met 
        international standards;
Whereas it is the duty of government and public authorities at all levels to act 
        in a manner consistent with all laws and regulations governing election 
        procedures and to ensure free and fair elections throughout the entire 
        country, including preventing activities aimed at undermining the free 
        exercise of political rights;
Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires a period of political 
        campaigning conducted in an environment in which neither administrative 
        action nor violence, intimidation, or detention hinder the parties, 
        political associations, and the candidates from presenting their views 
        and qualifications to the citizenry, including organizing supporters, 
        conducting public meetings and events throughout the country, and 
        enjoying unimpeded access to television, radio, print, and Internet 
        media on a non-discriminatory basis;
Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires that citizens be guaranteed 
        the right and effective opportunity to exercise their civil and 
        political rights, including the right to vote free from intimidation, 
        threats of political retribution, or other forms of coercion by national 
        or local authorities or others;
Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires the full transparency of 
        laws and regulations governing elections, multiparty representation on 
        election commissions, and unobstructed access by candidates, political 
        parties, and domestic and international observers to all election 
        procedures, including voting and vote-counting in all areas of the 
        country;
Whereas control and manipulation of the media by national and local officials 
        and others acting at their behest could raise grave concerns regarding 
        the commitment of the Belarusian authorities to free and fair elections;
Whereas efforts by national and local officials and others acting at their 
        behest to impose obstacles to free assembly, free speech, and a free and 
        fair political campaign could call into question the fairness of the 
        upcoming elections; and
Whereas the arrest or intimidation of opposition political parties and 
        candidates such as the leader of the United Civic Party and others 
        involved with the opposition including those associated with the 
        Coalition Five Plus represents a deliberate assault on the democratic 
        process: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) looks forward to the development of cordial relations between 
        the United States and the Republic of Belarus;
            (2) emphasizes that a precondition for the integration of Belarus 
        into the Western community of nations is its establishment of a 
        genuinely democratic political system;
            (3) expresses its strong and continuing support for the efforts of 
        the Belarusian people to establish a full democracy, the rule of law, 
        and respect for human rights in Belarus;
            (4) urges the Government of Belarus to guarantee freedom of 
        association and assembly, including the right of candidates, members of 
        political parties, and others to freely assemble, to organize and 
        conduct public events, and to exercise these and other rights free from 
        intimidation or harassment by local or national officials or others 
        acting at their behest;
            (5) urges the Government of Belarus to meet its Organization for 
        Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commitments on democratic 
        elections;
            (6) urges the Belarusian authorities to ensure--
                    (A) the full transparency of election procedures before, 
                during, and after the 2004 parliamentary elections;
                    (B) free access for Belarusian and international election 
                observers;
                    (C) multiparty representation on all election commissions;
                    (D) unimpeded access by all parties and candidates to print, 
                radio, television, and Internet media on a non-discriminatory 
                basis;
                    (E) freedom of candidates, members of opposition parties, 
                and independent media organizations from intimidation or 
                harassment by government officials at all levels via selective 
                tax audits and other regulatory procedures, and in the case of 
                media, license revocations and libel suits, among other 
                measures;
                    (F) a transparent process for complaint and appeals through 
                electoral commissions and within the court system that provides 
                timely and effective remedies; and
                    (G) vigorous prosecution of any individual or organization 
                responsible for violations of election laws or regulations, 
                including the application of appropriate administrative or 
                criminal penalties;
            (7) further calls upon the Government of Belarus to guarantee 
        election monitors from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human 
        Rights (ODIHR), other participating States of the OSCE, Belarusian 
        political parties, candidates' representatives, nongovernmental 
        organizations, and other private institutions and organizations, both 
        foreign and domestic, unobstructed access to all aspects of the election 
        process, including unimpeded access to public campaign events, 
        candidates, news media, voting, and post-election tabulation of results 
        and processing of election challenges and complaints;
            (8) encourages the international community, including the Council of 
        Europe, the OSCE, and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, to continue their 
        efforts to support democracy in Belarus and urges countries such as 
        Lithuania and other Baltic countries and Nordic countries to continue to 
        provide assistance to nongovernmental organizations and other Belarusian 
        organizations involved in promoting democracy and fair elections in 
        Belarus; and
            (9) pledges its support to the Belarusian people, their commitment 
        to a fully free and open democratic system, their creation of a 
        prosperous free market economy, and their country's assumption of its 
        rightful place as a full and equal member of the Western community of 
        democracies.
            Attest:

                                                                          Clerk.