The human rights activists of Belarus are against the introduction of the political articles in the criminal legislation.
On November 25, 2005 the Chamber of Representatives adopted in the first reading the law “On Completing and Amending some Legislative Acts of the Republic of Belarus to increase accountability for actions aimed against humans and public order” brought by Mr. Lukashenka before the parliament as an emergency measure.
This bill provides for additional clauses and changes to be introduced to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. Thus, in particular, according to this legislation, the effective Criminal Code will be amended to include a number of new articles: illegal operations of a public association, fund or involvement with such operations; discrediting the Republic of Belarus and a number of other articles of the same kind.
In view of the above, the representatives of the human rights movement of Belarus make the following statement:
The changes proposed to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus agree neither with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, nor with the international law in the field of the human rights ratified by the Republic of Belarus. The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Human Rights Declaration and the main principle of OSCE. These changes violate the fundamental principles of the human rights such as freedom of opinion and belief, the freedom to receive and distribute information, the freedom of speech, the freedom of association, etc.
We are deeply convinced that this bill is exclusively repressive and aims to intimidate the country’s people prior to the regular presidential elections. Against the background of the deteriorating situation with human rights, the actual elimination of the independent media, these change to the effective criminal legislation will substantially reinforce the political reprisals, cause Belarus to end up in the worst period of Soviet totalitarianism.
In view of the above we demand that the President of the Republic of Belarus should recall the changes he proposed to include into the laws, and the National Assembly” should not pass the bill introduced by the President. We call on the representatives of the Belarusian and international civil community, international organizations to adopt all possible measures of influencing the leadership of the Republic of Belarus so that the proposed politically-motivated repressive bill does not take effect.
Representatives of the human rights movement in Belarus.