BERLIN: Germany has allocated 21 million euros (USD 25.3 million) to implement the Action Plan Civil Society Belarus initiative aimed at providing support to the Belarusian opposition, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Saturday.
"Let me assure you: Germany and the European Union stand with you [Belarusians]. We have imposed sanctions against [President Alexander] Lukashenko and his regime. And we have set up an 'Action Plan Civil Society Belarus' with up to 21 million euro," Maas said at the online conference of solidarity with Belarus.
According to the minister, the action plan provides asylum assistance and psychological care to Belarusian victims of torture and that fleeing persecution, supports independent media and offers scholarships to students who were expelled from their schools and universities for participating in anti-government demonstrations.
"And we are setting up a mechanism to collect evidence against those who violate human rights. The day will come when they will be held accountable. The day will come when Belarusians can enjoy democracy, freedom and the rule of law. We will owe that day to your energy, your courage and your resolve," Maas added.
Belarus entered a prolonged political crisis after Lukashenko secured his sixth term during the August 9 presidential election. The opposition did not recognize the results, claiming that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was the real winner. Western countries have refused to recognize Lukashenko's victory and slapped sanctions on dozens of Belarusian officials over alleged election fraud and crackdown on the opposition.