APPEAL OF BELARUS’ HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS TO STATE LEADERS ATTENDING THE TERCENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS IN ST. PETERSBURG
Dear Sirs and Mesdames,
Alexander Lukashenka, President of the Republic of Belarus, has been invited to take part in the tercentennial celebrations in St. Petersburg. Human rights organizations of Belarus urge you to refrain from contact with the president of the country that is now going through a new stage of human rights violations.
Belarusians still do not know what happened to the well-known politicians who have gone missing over the past few years: Yury Zakharanka, ex-Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Viktar Hanchar, vice-speaker of the Supreme Soviet of the 13th convocation, and his friend, the businessman Anatol Krasowski, and Dzmitry Zavadzki, a journalist with the Belarus office of the ORTV company. The authorities have suspended investigations into what happened to the missing people, their families and the community’s attempts to find out the truth have fallen through. Other political opponents suffer pressure, including criminal persecution. Violations of political and civil rights have become the order of the day.
Belarusian authorities flagrantly violate the freedom of speech, send journalists to prison to serve politically-motivated sentences, keep persecuting in court journalists and publishers and conduct a policy aimed at eliminating independent mass media. Over the past few days some of the largest non-state periodicals have been threatened closure, The Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta and The BDG. Dlya Sluzhebnogo Polzovaniya have been suspended. Another three newspapers – The Narodnaya Volya, The Viacherni Stolin, and The Navinki are on the brink of liquidation.
This month the authorities have launched an attack on the non-governmental organizations of Belarus. The Justice departments have initiated proceedings aimed at liquidating four prominent non-governmental organizations: Hrodna regional public association Ratusha, Homel regional public association Civic Initiatives, Public Asssociation Regional Development Agency Varuta (Baranavichy), and Public Association Youth Christian Social Union.
Considering the above facts, we, representatives of the human rights organizations of Belarus, urge you to limit contact with Alexander Lukashenka and express your attitude toward the on-going negative processes concerning the human rights situation in Belarus.
Human Rights Center Viasna
Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Belarusian Association of Journalists
Legal Assistance to Public