Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, TD, held a video-call today with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in which he pledged Ireland’s ongoing support for the Belarusian people in their defence of democratic principles and human rights. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya, who spent her summers in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary in her youth, warmly received the Minister’s assurances.
During the call, the Minister said:
‘I wish to commend your bravery and the bravery of the Belarusian people in what are extremely difficult circumstances. The resilience of protesters, particularly women, who have been to the fore, but also the elderly and young people, is truly remarkable and an inspiration to all who cherish democratic values.’
Ms. Tsikhanouskaya expressed her appreciation for Irish solidarity and was thankful for Ireland’s financial contribution to support projects seeking to protect fundamental human rights and media freedoms in Belarus. Minister Byrne promised that Ireland would use its voice at the UN Security Council to keep the situation in Belarus high on the agenda.
The Minister invited Ms. Tsikhanouskaya to visit Dublin when conditions allow and added:
‘We will continue to call for an end to indiscriminate detentions and for the immediate and unconditional release of all those unjustly detained, including political prisoners. We strongly supported the imposition of targeted sanctions and we are ready to go further. The future of Belarus belongs to its people and Ireland will continue to work for a peaceful, inclusive and democratic resolution to the current crisis.’
9 DECEMBER 2020