Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders expresses its grave concern with persecution of Leanid Svetsik

2008 2008-06-12T22:37:26+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in *Belarus*.
 
*Brief description of the situation:*
The Observatory has been informed by sources about the initiation of criminal proceedings against Mr. *Leanid Svetsik*, a human rights defender from Vitsebsk.
 
According to the information received, on May 23, 008, three KGB officers burst into the apartment of Mr. Svetsik. They showed him the ruling of the Prosecutor's office for initiation of criminal proceedings for "fomentation of national and religious enmity", under Article 130.1
of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. The ruling describes Mr. Svetsik as a witness in a case of threats to certain citizens from the extreme-right organisation Russian National Unity (RNE)[1]

The KGB officers also brought with them several persons to witness the search, which was directed by the Senior Lieutenant of the KGB and lasted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the search the KGB confiscated his computer and supplies, as well as printed human rights editions including the calendars which were dedicated to the 60^th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations.
 
Then, Mr. Svetsik was brought to Vitsebsk oblast KGB office and was interrogated for more than two hours by an officer. The interrogation was videotaped. He was then handed out the writ for the next interrogation, which was set on May 28, 2008. Mr. Svetsik went back to the KGB office on May 30, as he had to wait for his lawyer from Minsk. On that day, he and his lawyer signed a paper rejecting the accusations of the public prosecutor. The procedure is now ongoing.
 
The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about these events and recalls that as a Participating State of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Belarus must conform with paragraph 8 of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Resolution on Strengthening OSCE Engagement with Human Rights Defenders and National Human Rights Institutions[2] , which states that the OSCE Participating States recognize "the need for particular attention, support and protection for human rights defenders by the OSCE, its
Institutions and field operations, as well as by participating States".
 
*Actions requested:*
 
The Observatory urges the authorities of Belarus to:
 
 i.  Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Leanid Svetsik and all human rights defenders in Belarus;
ii.  Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Leanid Svetsik as well as against all human rights defenders in Belarus;
iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with Article 1, which provides that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", Article 6.b, which provides that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others [...] freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms", as well as with Article 12.2, which states that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration";
iv. Comply with the provisions of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the 2^nd Conference on the Human Dimension of the Cooperation and Security Conference in Europe (CSCE) (1990), and uphold in all circumstances the principles and provisions enshrined in the international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Belarus and which, in particular, guarantee freedoms of association, demonstration, expression and opinion, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
v.  More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Belarus.
 
*Addresses:***
 President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, ul .Karla Marksa, 38, 220016 Minsk, Belarus,

Fax: + 375 172 26 06 10 or + 375 172 22 38 72, Email: infogrp@president.gov.by

General Prosecutor, Petr Miklashevich, Internatsionalnaya str. 22, 220050 Minsk, Belarus,

Fax: + 375 17 226 42 52

Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations in Geneva, 15 avenue de la paix, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 748 24 51. Email: mission.belarus@ties.itu.int

Embassy of Belarus in Brussels, 192 avenue Molière, 100 Ixelles, Belgium,

Fax : + 32 2.340.02.87, Email : embbel@skynet.be
 
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Belarus in your respective country.

***
Geneva-Paris, June 5, 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
 
The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

 
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org <mailto:Appeals@fidh-omct.org
 
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
 
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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[1] Mr. Leanid Svetsik helped those who had received the RNE threats in applying to the appropriate State organs for protection of their rights. He also participated in the preparation of five complaints concerning violations of the citizens? rights by the Belarusian authorities.

2] Adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Kiev on July 10, 2007.

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