News for January 2009
30.01.2009 Political analyst Chavusau comments on Nasha Viasna registration
‘The case of Nasha Viasna is one of the most significant issues that could become an evidence of positive changes in the field of the freedom of association in Belarus. Viasna was closed down along with hundreds of other Belarusian NGOs as a result of a mass liquidation campaign by the Ministry of Justice. It was later supported by the UN Human Rights Committee and the EU Parliament, who stress the significance of the matter for the reform of the Belarusian civil society. So I hope that the Belarusian authorities will have the foresight to abide by the law and grant registration the Nasha Viasna human rights organization, along with other NGOs, still lacking official status.’
30.01.2009 Belaruski chas newspaper faces $1,000,000 fine for information workers received
Vorsha meat-preserving factory’s general director demands weekly “Belaruski chas” to disprove article “Hashed beef as a wage”. The newspaper editorial office has made a statement on this occasion. “In the end of January rumours that Vorsha meat-preserving factory gives wages in the form of canned meat. But when our author Liudmila Marshalovich sent the ready article, it has been found out that there were no problems in that: wage in the form of money hasn’t been cancelled, and canned meat was given to those who wanted that, according to an agreement concluded by the enterprise. There were no violations or infringements of workers’ rights. And we published this information like that,” journalists of “Belarusiki chas” write.
30.01.2009 Anti-conscription action to be held in New-York
The Belarusian Youth Movement of America calls upon the Belarusians of the USA, Canada and other countries to support the youth activists Ivan Shyla, Franak Viachorka and Zmitser Khvedaruk in their struggle against the politically motivated conscriptions to the Belarusian army and hold a number of actions in front of Belarusian embassies in various countries of the world. The campaign will include a picket in front of the UN headquarters in New-York on 7 February.
30.01.2009 Famous TV announcer Bandarenka joins anti-death penalty campaign
Zinaida Bandarenka, Honoured artist of Belarus, says the state should implement its humanistic commitments de-facto. ‘I think that there should be no executions in the Christian Belarus. Man is the work of God and therefore he should live. In case he commits a brutal crime, he is sure to be punished after death. Let alone the numerous mistakes of court. We will never forget the notorious Vitsebsk case. We are so often told that we are a civilized state, so we should be civilized and abolish capital punishment in Belarus.’
30.01.2009 Liabedzka’s property to be confiscated
According to BelaPAN, the United Civil Party leader Anatol Liabedzka has received a notice saying that his property would be distrained on 2 February by Minsk Tsentralny Borough Court executors. The notice does not name any reasons for the confiscation. However, Liabedzka thinks this is connected with the 14 October 2007 European March, when he, as one of the organizers of the action, was fined BYR 2,100,000.
29.01.2009 Vitsebsk activists to protest construction of houses in place of Fascist death camp
A number of Vitsebsk public activists are going to support the campaign against the construction of a housing area on the location of a WWII concentration camp, which claimed 120,000 lives. The campaign was initiated by surviving ex-victims of the 5th Regiment death camp, located on the outskirts of the town.
29.01.2009 Offender rehabilitation centers to be created in Vitsebsk region
According to Vitsebsk regional prosecutor Henadz Dysko, over 50% of crimes in the region are committed by ex-convicts. He says it is not only because of their propensity to break the law, but due to certain social aspects as well. Going at large, offenders sometimes cannot find a job or even do not have a place to live. Employers do not usually welcome such workers. Besides, the amount of released convicts is much larger that the number of vacancies. In 2008 only 250 working places were reserved for them – meanwhile over 2,000 people were released last year.
29.01.2009 Babruisk town prosecutor: ‘fingerprinting is a civic duty’
According to Anatol Sanantsenka, editor-in-chief of the Babruiski kurier independent newspaper, a letter by Babruisk Leninski borough prosecutor’s office in reply to his complaint states that ‘Fingerprinting is a voluntary examination aimed at assisting the investigation in detecting the crime and a ‘civic duty’ which you refused to do. However you will not be prosecuted under existing legislation.’
29.01.2009 Activist of “European Belarus” called in for questioning
Palina Dzyakava, activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus”, is called in the Tsentralny district militia department for questioning.
A summons, the girl has received today morning, says she must come for questioning at 9.00 a.m. January 30 as a witness in a criminal case.
As Dzyakava said, for the last two months, she has been receiving telephone calls from different people, who introduced themselves as militia officers and demanded that she go to the Tsentralny district militia department of to the Frunzenski district militia department. When she asked to send her a summons, they threatened and insulted her.
29.01.2009 Ukrainian youth NGO hold picket against illegal drafting of Belarusian activists
The Ukrainian youth union Nasha Ukraina held a picket in front of the Belarusian embassy to Kiev urging the Belarusian authorities to stop political persecution of Belarusian civil activists, the illegal conscription to the army of Franak Viachoka in particular.
29.01.2009 Youth activist Shyla goes on strike
Deputy head of the Young Front youth organization Ivan Shyla has reportedly declared a hunger-strike. Shyla says he would stop the strike only after his conscription to the army was reviewed. He also demanded that harassment by the military officials and the Belarusian secret services be immediately stopped. ‘I am determined and self-confident. I have seen much, but these theatrics are something out of the world,’ says Shyla. Ivan Shyla was detained during a search in his apartment on 28 January and subsequently taken to the local military registration and enlistment office where he was declared fit for military service by a medical commission. Now he is awaiting departure for a military unit in Minsk region.
29.01.2009 Young activist Khvedaruk goes to jail
On 28 January Zmitser Kvedaruk, activist of the Young Front youth organization, was sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment for participating in the Belarus to Europe action on 1 May 2008. As we reported before, on the same day he was detained by the police and escorted to the local military enlistment and registration office where the activist was informed that he would be called up on 29 January. However, the police took him to Minsk Pershamaiski Borough Police Department where Khvedaruk was told he would have to serve 10 days of imprisonment he failed to serve after the 1 May 2008 action. After that he was taken to the City Detention Center in Akrestsin street.
28.01.2009 Ales Bialiatski: ‘Registration or non-registration of Nasha Viasna will show the readiness of the authorities for changes pertaining to NGOs’
Mr.Bialiatski’s interview concerning the registration of the Nasha Viasna human rights organization. Q: Mr.Bialiatski, Belarusian mass media have repeatedly mentioned that the Nasha Viasna human rights organization, founded by members of the liquidated Human Rights Center Viasna, has applied for registration to the Ministry of Justice.
28.01.2009 FIDH statement on violent drafting of Belarusian young activists
Very serious concern regarding the recent drafting of political and civil organisations’ activists into the Belarus army, OPEN LETTER to Mrs. N. Pyatkevich, Deputy Head Secretary to the President of Belarus, Mr. S. Martynov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. V. Golovanov, Minister of Justice
28.01.2009 Youth activist Khvedaruk escorted to army
According to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, a few hours ago the police broke into the apartment of the young activists Zmitser Khvedaruk and escorted him to the local military registration and enlistment office despite the fact he is a college student and is subject to deferment of military service.