International League for Human Rights condemned the repressive reaction of Belarusian law machinery to the action of 25 March
On 29 March the International League for Human Rights filed an open letter to Aliaksandr Lukashenka:
President Aleksandr Lukashenko
March 29, 2005
Dear Mr. Lukashenko:
The International League for Human Rights, an international non-governmental organization with special consultative status at UN ECOSOC, expresses its profound concern about the latest attack on freedom of assembly and expression in Belarus after the arrest and sentencing of peaceful protestors in Minsk.
On March 25, an estimated 2,000 demonstrators gathered on Oktyabrskaya Ploshcad in Minsk, opposite the presidential compound. Despite the peaceful protest, police in riot gear were dispatched. The police dispersed protestors through the use of physical force and many of the protestors were injured. In addition, several dozen demonstrators were arrested. After the initial protestors were dispersed, another group of roughly 100 individuals regrouped and were again pushed back by police forces. On March 28, a court sentenced nearly two dozen protestors to jail terms ranging from three to 15 days for participating in the demonstration. Those responsible for organizing the rally are likely to face extended prison sentences.
The League expresses grave disapproval of the repression of freedom of assembly and expression in Belarus. Your government’s unrelenting attack on political opposition must come to an end. Belarus has undertaken commitments to uphold international standards of freedom of expression and assembly. These rights are fundamental to democratic civil society in Belarus and should be ensured through the Belarusian judicial system. Belarusian citizens must be given the right to operate freely without fear of threats or reprisals from government authorities.
The League calls on you and your officials to respect the Belarusian citizens’ fundamental human rights, and to stop your assault on a democratic civil society in Belarus.
Thank you for your attention. We await your response.