BRUSSELS — The European Union on Thursday given its top human rights prize to the Belarus resistance movement and its chief, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, due to their struggle to President Alexander Lukashenko’s lengthy, hard-line reign.
During a speech in the European Parliament, president David Sassoli commended the Sakharov Prize laureates for their”courage, determination and resilience “
“They’ve stood and stayed strong in the face of a far more powerful adversary. However they have on their negative something that brute force can not conquer, and this is the fact,” Sassoli explained.
The EU has warned it’s prepared to sanction Lukashenko himself when he fails to enter into discussions with the resistance and order a stop to the repression started after a contested election.
In a set of recommendations adopted this week, EU lawmakers stated sanctions will need to comprise Lukashenko and called for elections to be held under international supervision. MEPs also said that”Tsikhanouskaya’s Coordination Council is the legitimate representative of these people.”
Tsikhanouskaya,” Lukashenko’s most important challenger, got 10 percent of their vote. She and her fans refused to comprehend the results, stating the results of the vote has been manipulated.
A 38-year old former English teacher with no prior political experience, Tsikhanouskaya combined the race after her husband that dared to run for president has been imprisoned. He’s stayed in prison.
Tsikhanouskaya has resisted the official tally and refused to concede defeat, but has been made to proceed to Lithuania under pressure by governments.
Tsikhanouskaya shares the prize with many prominent members of the resistance’s Coordination Council, which was made following the election in an attempt to ease conversations on a glimpse of power. They comprise Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich, musician Maryia Kalesnikava and governmental activists Volha Kavalkova and Veranika Tsapkala, and prominent opposition politician Mikola Statkevich, that was recently imprisoned.
The EU award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was made in 1988 to honor groups or individuals who defend human rights and basic freedoms. Last year’s winner was economist Ilham Tohti because of his job protecting China’s Uighur minority.
Others on the shortlist for the award this season were activists protecting the Guapinol river in Honduras and killed environmental activist and native pioneer Berta Caceres. Najeeb Michael, the archbishop of Mosul, also cut his part in the evacuation of Christians, Syriacs, and Chaldeans to Iraqi Kurdistan and safeguarding historical manuscripts following the Islamic State came in Mosul in 2014.
Sassoli paid tribute to Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo, a part of this environmental group opposing an iron oxide mine in Honduras who had been murdered this month.
“It is very important that a credible, independent, and instant investigation is introduced into this situation and those responsible must be held to account,” Sassoli explained.