Statement on the occasion of the beginning of the campaign to monitor the presidential elections in Belarus

The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus has determined the date of the next presidential elections - October 11, 2015. According to Art. 81 of the Belarusian Constitution, the President is elected for five years directly by the people through universal, free, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

Presidential elections are a significant event in the political life of the country and are of a great interest to the subjects of the political process, civil society and the citizens of Belarus. Also, presidential elections are always an important exam of democracy for the authorities and society in Belarus, affecting the image of our country in the world.

Given the importance of the presidential elections, we, the representatives of the Belarusian human rights organizations - the RHRPA "Belarusian Helsinki Committee" and the Human Rights Center "Viasna", launch a public campaign "Human Rights Activists for Free Elections".

The campaign's goals are to carry out observation of the elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus, to assess the electoral process and observance of human rights in the course of their conduct from the viewpoint of Belarusian electoral legislation and international standards of free and democratic elections, to inform the Belarusian public and international community about the election campaign and the findings of the monitoring.

Observation of the presidential elections in the framework of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" will be carried out by the members of our organizations in strict accordance with the national legislation.

Long-term monitoring of all stages of the electoral process and political situation will be conducted by 50 long-term observers, distributed throughout the country. Long-term observers will be accredited at the territorial commissions on elections of the President (district, city, regional and Minsk city election commission).

During the vote, observation at polling station will be conducted since the start of early voting and up to counting of votes by up to 400 short-term observers at 200 polling stations throughout the country.

The campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" is independent and politically unbiased. We do not support the goals of political parties, as well as any political figures, including those who have declared their intention to participate in the elections as a candidate for President of the Republic of Belarus. The entire electoral process will be evaluated by us as much as possible without any bias, solely on the basis of the principles of free, democratic and transparent elections in which the people of our country can fully exercise their constitutional right to participate in the government of their country and elect the head of state.

Minsk, July 1, 2015