Ban of Freedom Day Rally on October Square Is Unjustified Restriction of Citizen’s Rights
Statement of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Freedom of peaceful assemblies, freedom of expression of one’s opinions, beliefs, and convictions, in particular, the right to a peaceful protest are fundamental civic rights of an individual. The constitution of the country, as well as a number of international acts such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Pact on Civic and Political Rights, guarantee these rights to all Belarusian citizens.
The street action on March 25 is planned as a celebration of the anniversary of declaration of the Belarusian People’s Republic and has exclusively peaceful goals, content, and form. In conjunction with that we urge the authorities of Belarus to take measures to ensure the constitutional rights of the citizens and cancel the decision of Minsk city executive committee of March 19.
We express our concern in conjunction with the warning issued by the prosecutor’s office about possible persecution of the organizers and participants of the peaceful rally. We believe this step is a preventive measure, demonstrating that the authorities are prepared to take violent measures.
We demand from the authorities to stop arrests of the pro-democratic activists before the planned street action and to refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters.
Minsk, March 19, 2007