SWEDISH HELSINKI COMMITTEE: DURING 2002 OPPRESSION HARDENED IN BELARUS
Swedish Helsinki Committee on Human Rights has published the annual report about its activities in 2002. In the chapter about Belarus SHC gives the following evaluation of the situation in Belarus:
“During 2002, oppression hardened in Belarus, a country in which journalists are imprisoned and voluntary organizations opposed…
…During 2002 Europe’s last totalitarian rule has become increasingly presed. Belarus’ previous ally, Russia, has started to show cooness towards President Lukasjenka.
The previous plans for a union between the two states are now looking more and more remote.
In the second half of 2002, large areas of EU and the USA introduced refusal of entry for Belarusian government representatives. Belarus responded with increasingly rancorous and desperate statements against western europe, patrticularly the OSCE.
A number of legal proceedings, attracting much attention and resulting in prison sentences, were brought against journalists during the year.
In addition to the escalation in oppression, the already weak economy continues to deteriorate and the possibility of any artificial respiration from Russia has dwindled away. Signs that the present regime is coming to the end of the road are becoming increasingly clear, even though this will not happen in the very near future.
The totalitarian regime in Belarus looks on voluntary organizations, both foreign and local, with great distrust, as they are difficult to control and are suspected of running errands for foreign powers. This means that great care is needed in teh work in Belarus in order not to cause trouble for people...”