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The Belarus Democracy Act (P.L. 108-347)

PUBLIC LAW 108-347

Belarus Democracy Act of 2004

Prime Sponsor: Mr. Christopher H. Smith (NJ)
HR 854 - Signed by President Bush on October 20, 2004

On October 21, President Bush signed the BDA into law stating, "At a time when freedom is advancing around the world, Aleksandr Lukashenka and his government are turning Belarus into a regime of repression in the heart of Europe, its government isolated from its neighbors and its people isolated from each other."

The Belarus Democracy Act:

  • Promotes democratic development, human rights and the rule of law in Belarus, and encourages the consolidation and strengthening of Belarus' sovereignty and independence. Strives to help put an end to repression and human rights violations in Belarus and to promote Belarus' entry into a democratic Euro Atlantic community of nations.
  • Authorizes FY 2005 and 2006 assistance for democracy building activities such as support for non governmental organizations, development of democratic political parties, independent media supported by nonstate controlled printing facilities and international exchanges and advanced professional training programs for the development of civil society.
  • Authorizes FY 2005 and 2006 appropriations for indigenous radio and television broadcasting into Belarus.
  • Encourages free and fair presidential, parliamentary and local elections, including assistance for the promotion of free and fair electoral processes.
  • Supports the imposition of sanctions against the Lukashenka regime until the Government of Belarus has made significant progress in meeting several human rights conditions. U.S. Government financing would be prohibited, except for humanitarian goods and agricultural or medical products. The U.S. Executive Directors of the international financial institutions would be encouraged to vote against financial assistance to the Government of Belarus except for loans and assistance that serve humanitarian needs.
  • Requires reports from the President concerning the sale or delivery of weapons or weapons related technologies from Belarus to rogue states and reports on Lukashenka's personal wealth and assets and that of other senior leadership.
  • Declares Congressional policy with respect to the persecution and disappearance of political opponents and journalists in Belarus, and commends the democratic opposition.

Text of The Belarus Democracy Act (P.L. 108-347) [.pdf]