ENEMO calls to release Viasna human rights defenders
Statement by the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO)
20 July 2021
On 14 July 2021, Belarusian law enforcement officers carried out an unprecedented sweeping raid against human rights organizations, defenders and activists and our colleagues from election monitoring organizations in Belarus.
More than 19 offices of NGOs were searched, including those of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights Centre 'Viasna' (HRC 'Viasna').
After the search of the apartments, a number of members of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", including its chairperson Ales Bialiatski, were detained for 72 hours.
On July 17, after 72 hours, Human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich, Viasna lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich and his wife Nina Labkovich, as well as chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski were not released and were transferred to a pre-trial detention centre.
ENEMO unequivocally stands by its member organizations, and strongly condemn this new wave of repression against the civil society of Belarus.
We demand the immediate release of the detained human right defenders whose work is legitimate and peaceful.
It is highly important to remind that any repression against domestic non-partisan election observers undermine public trust in electoral results and the legitimacy of the elected authority.