The Lukashenka regime’s decision to stop providing overseas passport services harms thousands of Belarusians living abroad and is the latest in a long line of cynical rejections by the regime of its basic obligations to its people. The decree’s sole aim is to make the lives of ordinary Belarusians living abroad more difficult and represents yet another form of oppression and retaliation against the thousands of Belarusians who were forced to flee their homes to escape a regime that imprisons those who dare to stand up for their rights. The rule has repercussions for all Belarusians. It will prevent families from obtaining citizenship and travel documents for their children, while also making it nearly impossible for Belarusians abroad to maintain control over their homes and property in Belarus.
The United States remains in close consultation with our European allies and the Belarusian democratic forces led by Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya about ways to help Belarusians abroad who are affected by this punitive decree.