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Statement by Mr. Denis Sidorenko, Deputy Head of the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Belarus, at the Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council

17 March 2005

Nazi marches in Latvia

Mr. Chairman,

On 16 March former Nazis held marches in a number of Latvian cities. Those events took place with the official approval of the Latvian authorities. At the same time parallel demonstrations by anti fascists were dispersed by police dogs and mounted police.

The Republic of Belarus considers that these events in Latvia constitute a particularly flagrant and scandalous violation by the Latvian leadership of the provisions of the Declaration adopted by the OSCE Ministerial Council in Sofia in December 2004 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War. We should like to recall that in this document to which, we should add, all Member States of the European Union, including Latvia, subscribed voluntarily and by consensus the participants in the Ministerial Council Meeting condemned all manifestations of intolerance, discrimination and extremism as well as hatred inspired by ethnic, racial and religious considerations. The foreign ministers of the OSCE participating States also unanimously declared their intention to combat these dangerous manifestations, in the OSCE as elsewhere and rejected all attempts to justify them.

These marches of Nazi criminals, which were encouraged by the Latvian authorities, are also in flagrant violation of the relevant provisions contained in United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/59/175 adopted by consensus at the 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2004 and entitled Measures to be taken against political platforms and activities based on doctrines of superiority and violent nationalistic ideologies which are based on racial discrimination or ethnic exclusiveness and xenophobia, including neo Nazism.

Belarus wishes to point out that pro Nazi demonstrations of one kind or another have been carried out in Latvia quite systematically for a very long time, even though that country is a fully fledged member of the European Union. We feel that this may be evidence of a more general inability on the part of the European Union to ensure that the international political obligations adopted voluntarily and on a consensual basis by all States belonging to the European Union, without exception, are reliably implemented in the region of the Unions collective responsibility.

The Republic of Belarus expects the Luxembourg chairmanship of the European Union to inform the OSCEs Permanent Council in the very near future of the specific measures which have been taken by the political leadership of the European Union to correct this unfortunate situation existing on the territory of one of its Member States and bring Latvias conduct into line with the international commitments of the European Union, including those undertaken with the OSCE and other international organizations.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.