Statement of Manfred Weber, Member of European Parliament
In view of the deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus, I call upon the International Ice Hockey Federation to reconsider its decision to hold the Ice Hockey World Championships in Belarus in 2014. International human rights organisations regularly detect human rights violations in the country, such as torture, unjustified limitations to the right to free speech and unfair trials leading to politically motivated death sentences, to name just a few.
Due to the continued disregard for human rights in Belarus I believe that it would be inappropriate to allow Europe’s last dictatorship to use this event as a platform for propaganda and for its twisted ideology. Given the chance, it would exploit Ice Hockey fans worldwide for its own purposes. However, the championships should be about sports and sports only. As long as President Lukashenko does not play by the rules of the game, there should be no game at all!