Russian Human Rights Activists Will Press Russia’s Law Enforcement Agencies to Investigate Politically Motivated Disappearances in Belarus
The round-table seminar Human Rights in the Republic of Belarus, which took place in Moscow on the initiative of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policies, is a unique event in the relationships between the Belarusian human rights activists and the Russian side. The Russian side was this event is represented by the Council Head Sergei Karaganov, Vladimir Lukin, Human Rights Commissioner, Ella Pamfilova, the Head of the Russian President’s Human Rights Commission, Valentin Gefter, the director of the Institute of Human Rights and some other well-known statesmen and political scientists. The Belarusian side was represented by Tatsiana Protska, Chair of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the BHC lawyer Aleh Hulak, Tatsiana Reviaka, the Human Rights Center Viasna representative, Aliaxandr Sasnou, the deputy head of NISEPD, Leanid Zaika, the head of the analytical center Strategy, Sviatlana Kalinkina, deputy editor-in-chief of Narodnaya Volia, and some others.
The participants mostly discussed the following three aspects: the problem of politically motivated disappearances in Belarus, the absence of the freedom of speech and media, and depriving the Belarusians of the right to take part in the government via free elections.
All of these issues produced concrete decisions. In the near future, the Russian President’s Human Rights Commission will discuss the problem of the disappearance of the Belarusian politicians and statesmen and invite the relatives of the disappeared people to these hearings. This Commission plans to set up a section for the human rights in Belarus.
Vladimir Lukin suggested setting up under the Human Rights Commissioner an Expert Council which will hold joint Russia-Belarus meetings to discuss such issues as investigating politically motivated disappearances in Belarus within inter-state legal agreements between our countries.
We would like to remind you that appeals to the General Procurator’s Office, FSB and MIA regarding the possibility of investigating the abduction of Viktar Hanchar within these agreements was sent by Zinaida Hanchar, wife of the kidnapped. Now, these appeals are going to be under the Russian human rights activists’ control.
As regards the problem of the freedom of speech in Belarus, creating an information holding company Belarus-Russia was proposed. This idea will also be actively developed in the near future.
The round-table participants believed that Belarus joining the Convention on the Democratic Election Standards, Electoral Rights and Freedoms in CIS States is a step toward greater democracy of the Belarusian election law and the election holding procedures.