Human Rights Defenders and NGO Representatives Demand from MPs to Respect the Legal Rights of Their Colleagues to Freedom of Opinion and Its Expression
Today every member of the House of Representatives is to receive an appeal from human rights defenders and NGO representatives. Yesterday evening at 10 p.m. the appeal was delivered to A. I. Pashanaw, chief of security guards of the parliament building. He acknowledged receipt of the document and promised to deliver it to the secretariat in the morning.
The Appeal to the Members of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus:
June 3, 2004 members of the House of the Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Valery Fralow, Uladzimir Parfianovich, and Siarhei Skrabets made an attempt to inform the Parliament about their position about the issues which have recently become the subject of special attention and concern of the Belarusian public. Their demands are about the necessity to enter the draft law “About changes and amendments to the Election Code of the Republic of Belarus” in the agenda of the parliament session. Their proposal is aimed at creation of favorable conditions for free and democratic elections in the country and the end of political repression against Mikhail Marynich.
In defiance of the procedure of the Parliament work and regardless of the professional ethics, the MPs were two times deprived of their legitimate right to freely express their opinion by disconnection of the microphone. None of you have demonstrated the proper civic and professional will and responsibility and made attempts to stop illegal actions towards your colleagues. Such circumstances forced the MPs to take extreme measures and go on Termless hunger-strike.
We, representatives of the non-governmental organizations of Belarus, consider pluralism of opinions and freedom of their expression an integral element of public politics. With your negligence you, the Parliament members, have demonstrated disrespect not only of the opinion of your colleagues, but also of the voters and supporters of MPs Valery Fralow, Siarhei Skrabets, and Uladzimir Parfianovich.
Dear Members of Parliament! Your actions and civic positions are at the focus of attention of the Belarusian society, which empowered you to represent the interests of people and be responsible for the destiny of the country.
WE DEMAND FROM THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LEGISLATIVE POWER:
1. To rigorously adhere to the legitimate rights of the parliament members to the freedom of opinion and the freedom of expression;
2. to put on the agenda and essentially consider the draft law “About changes and amendments to the Election Code of the Republic of Belarus”; and
3. to use the parliament mandate to stop political repression against Mikhail Marynich.
Belarusian Helsinki Committee:
Tatsiana Protska, Aleh Hulah, Harry Pahaniayla
Women’s Independent Democratic Movement:
Belarusian Organization of Working Women:
Maria Aliyeva, Iryna Zhykhar
Representatives of NGOs deprived of the official registration:
Alena Tankachova, Ales Bialatski, Valantsin Stefanovich, Tatsiana Raviaka, Aleh Volchak, Raisa Mikhailowskaya, Alena Valynets-Charniayeva, Yury Chavusaw, Sviatlana Karalova, etc.
June 3, 2004 9.15 p.m.