Join #FreeViasna campaign and support imprisoned human rights defenders!
#FreeViasna, the international campaign of solidarity in support of imprisoned human rights defenders of Viasna, will be launched on September 17.
The kick-off date is no coincidence: a representative of our organization, Marfa Rabkova, was arrested on September 17, 2020. Over the year, the pressure on human rights activists has intensified exponentially: several criminal cases were opened, numerous searches were conducted, members of Viasna were detained and some were beaten, and even those who had not been involved in the organization for a long time were summoned for questioning.
At the moment, seven members of Viasna are held behind bars:
the organization’s chairperson Ales Bialiatski;
deputy chairperson Valiantsin Stefanovich;
Uladzimir Labkovich, coordinator of Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections campaign;
Marfa Rabkova, coordinator of Viasna’s network of volunteers;
Leanid Sudalenka, head of Viasna’s branch in Homieĺ;
Tatsiana Lasitsa, a volunteer in Rečyca;
Andrei Chapiuk, a volunteer in Minsk.
For many years, they assisted people in defending and protecting their rights and public interests, analyzed the human rights situation in Belarus, prepared and submitted complaints and reports to the UN, participated in its sessions, developed recommendations to the Belarusian authorities, built relations with other human rights organizations and received prestigious awards for their work. And now they need solidarity and support!
We encourage you to join the campaign and take action to demand their immediate release:
- organize a rally, march or picket on September 17;
- disseminate information about imprisoned human rights defenders and the #FreeViasna campaign;
- take photos with banners and poster and share them on social media with the hashtag #FreeViasna;
- write an open letter to the imprisoned human rights activists and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org (we will post it on our social media accounts);
- sign solidarity postcards and send them directly to the Viasna activists;
- come up with and implement other actions demanding the release of the human rights defenders of Viasna.
Who are human rights defenders?
Human rights defenders are people who individually or jointly advocate for civil, political, social, economic rights and fundamental freedoms at the local, national and international levels, mediate between the state and individuals: protect the rights of the latter when they are violated by government officials. In their work, human rights defenders are guided by the principles of universality of human rights for all without any distinction and protect human rights by peaceful means.