Observatory for Protection of Human Rights Defenders issues urgent appeal on coordinated searches and detentions in Belarus
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) issued an urgent appeal on the situation with repression against human righst defenders in Belarus.
The appeal describes the coordinated searches and detentions among the human righst community and civil society organisations on July 14 in Belarus. The police of Belarus have carried searches in the offices of the following civil society organisations: the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Imenajournal, Gender Perspectives, BEROC Center for Economic Research, Union of Belarusians of the World "Fatherland", Office for European Expertise and Communication, Polack independent trade union, Belarusian School Association and Supolnasc Center. Eight human rights defenders, including the leadership of the Human Rights Center Viasna were detained for 72 hours on suspition of participating and organizing actions that grossly disrupt public order and tax evaxion.
The Observatory notes with concern that the above-mentioned searches and detentions are being conducted only one day after the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted its resolution on the situation of human rights in Belarus, which expresses deep concern over the unprecedented escalation in violation of human rights in the country, including systematic repression of human rights defenders and journalists, and demands the authorities to release all persons arbitrarily detained and to promptly investigate all allegations of human rights violations.
The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders and journalists and urges the authorities in Belarus to immediately put an end to the persecution and harassment, including at the judicial level, of the above-mentioned human rights defenders and journalists.
The Observatory further urges the authorities to guarantee the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all human rights defenders, civil activists and journalists in Belarus.
Please write to the authorities of Belarus to urge them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all human rights defenders and journalists in Belarus;
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Valiantsin Stefanovich, Siarhei Sys, Andrei Paluda, Viktar Sazonau and Ihar Kazmerchak and all other detained human rights defenders, as their detention is arbitrary and seem to be merely aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities;
iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against the above-mentioned journalists, human rights organisations, and all their members, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
iv. Guarantee in all circumstances the right to freedom of association in the country, as enshrined in international human rights law and particularly in Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
· Mr. Aliaksandr Lukashenka, President of Belarus, Email: email@example.com;
· Mr. Andrei Shved, General Prosecutor of Belarus, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Mr Dmitry Gora, Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus, Email: email@example.com;
· Mr. Oleg Slizhevsky, Minister of Justice of Belarus, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Mr. Vasily Gerasimov, Acting Chairman of the State Control Committee of Belarus, Email: email@example.com;
· Mr. Ivan Kubrakov, minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Mr. Yury Ambrazevich, Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: email@example.com;
· H.E. Mr. Aliaksandr Mikhnevich, Embassy of Belarus in Brussels, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Belarus in your respective countries.