Participants of Conference of Ministers of Democratic Society Demand to Release Chernobyl Way Prisoners
On 28-29 April the third conference of the ministers of civil society took place Santiago, Chile. Representatives of ministries of more than 120 countries took part in it. 40 countries were represented by their prime-ministries. Representatives of NGOs from Africa, Northern and Southern America, Asia and Europe took part in it. Among the famous persons there were Condoleezza Rice and George Soros. Belarus was represented by Anatol Mikhailau, rector of the European Humanities University, liquidated by the authorities, and Viasna lawyer Valiantsin Stefanovich, who presented his report at the regional section of the European countries (the issue of Belarus was one of the most important within its frames).
The minister of foreign affairs of the Ukraine Tarasiuk proposed to adopt a statement concerning the situation of human rights in Belarus on behalf of the official delegates of the countries-participants. However, this initiative was blocked by Russia. Later, in a private talk, one of the representatives of the Russian foreign ministry said to Stefanovich that the ministry was instructed to support Belarus in all respects at the international level. However, a number of countries adopted a statement about the situation in Belarus in the form of the opinion of the countries that signed it. Here’s the text:
Democratic society on the situation in Belarus
“We, participants of the meeting “Democratic Society” that took place in Santiago, Chile, on 29 April 2005 within the regional round table of the countries of Europe, state our deep concern with the recent detentions of Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian citizens by Belarusian authorities for participation in the peaceful manifestation near the presidential administration of Belarus.
The situation becomes even more serious because of the hunger-strike, declared by the five detainees from the Ukraine.
We are convinced that the use of force and lawless detentions of the action participants by the police contradict to the fundamental principles of the liberty of assembly and association, stated in the European Convention on Human Rights and important UN and OSCE documents.
Countries-participants of the Democratic Society decisively condemn such facts of human rights violation. We categorically demand from Belarusian authorities to strictly abide by the ratified international undertakings and immediately release participants of the protest action.”
The statement was adopted on the initiative of the Ukraine and signed by representatives of Albania, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Czech, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, UK and the US. The Council of Europe and the European Parliament also joined it.