OSCE

An OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group was established in Belarus in 1997, primarily to assist in promoting democratic institutions. Increasingly, the relationship between the OSCE and the Lukashenko regime deteriorated. By the end of 2002, after the regime refused to grant or extend visas to OSCE staff to show its irritation with the mission’s operations, the mission no longer had any international staff.

Head of the OSCE Office in Minsk, Amb. Benedikt Haller (2nd r), Economic and Environmental Programme Manager Francois-Vadim de Hartingh (r) and Core-Agri Programme Co-ordinator S. Tarasiuk (l) visit a farm in Belarus' Chernobyl-affected area, 3 June 2010. (OSCE)

Head of the OSCE Office in Minsk, Amb. Benedikt Haller (2nd r), Economic and Environmental Programme Manager Francois-Vadim de Hartingh (r) and Core-Agri Programme Co-ordinator S. Tarasiuk (l) visit a farm in Belarus' Chernobyl-affected area, 3 June 2010. (OSCE)

Subsequently, the OSCE and Belarus negotiated an agreement to establish a new OSCE Office in Minsk with a new mandate as of January 1, 2003. The OSCE Office in Minsk’s revised and final mandate was to assist the Belarusian government in promoting institution building, consolidating the rule of law and in developing relations with civil society; and assisting with its economic and environmental activities.

Mission closed

Belarus refused to join consensus on extension of the mandate of the OSCE Office in Minsk, and the mandate expired at the end of 2010. The mission was formally closed in March 2011.

OSCE Moscow Mechanism on Human Rights Invoked

In 2011, 14 OSCE participating states invoked the Moscow Mechanism on the human rights situation in Belarus. This mechanism allowed an investigation to be launched without consensus and independently of the OSCE Chairmanship, institutions and decision making bodies if one state, supported by at least nine others, believed that "a serious threat to the fulfillment of the provisions of the human dimension had arisen in another participating state." The Mechanism also required that the Rapporteur's report be sent to the Permanent Council. The report can be found at http://www.osce.org/node/78705.