Human rights center
A document entitled ‘Decision for provision of civil security and road safety in Brest oblast during preparation and holding of the elections of deputies to the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the fourth convocation’, signed by the head of the head of the internal affairs department of Brest oblast executive committee, lieutenant-colonel V.Krasnichenka, and agreed with the head of Brest oblast KGB department L.Dziadkou and the procurator of Brest oblast, senior justice advisor S.Khmaruk.
From this document, dated 7 August 2008, we found about the establishment of situational-operative headquarters of the internal affairs department on the territory of Brest oblast, ‘for coordination of the activities, forces and means aimed at protection of civil security during the electoral campaign 2008’. This headquarters consists of representatives of different structural subdivisions of the internal affairs department.
Apart from the measures that are really necessary for provision of civil security during preparation and holding of the elections, the document includes some others, which cause a great concern and protest of the Human Rights Center Viasna. This document witnesses the preparation of mass repressions against opposition-minded persons and political opponents of the present regime.
According to the document, different structural subdivisions and their heads are empowered with holding the following measures:
measures for preventing possible provocative activities and neutralization of the citizens who intent to disorganize the preparation and holding of the elections and commit actions aimed at destabilization of the situation during preparation and holding of the elections, including from the side of informal youth groups;
work with the special apparatus, drawing it to finding the persons who are inclined to committing illegal actions during preparation and holding of the elections, including holding unauthorized actions;
timely informing of the situational-operative headquarters of the internal affairs department about the use of railroad transport by destructively geared up citizens;
working meetings with the heads of courts with the aim to decrease the number of punishments with arrests to the persons who commit administrative violations during the election period;
the road police to watch the posting of leaflets, transportation of printed materials that were produced with violations of the present legislation, hanging out of flags of unascertained symbolic and non-admission of inscriptions on the facades of buildings and holding of unauthorized actions;
to organize the control over:
holding of prophylactic talks with mailmen and the heads of village executive committees concerning inadmissibility of illegal agitation and distribution of anti-state printed materials, timely informing of the law-enforcement agencies when noticing the citizens who deal with anti-state agitation and call to boycott of the elections;
to organize interaction:
with the KGB department of the Republic of Belarus on Brest oblast and its territorial subdivisions during preparation and holding of the elections concerning the control of the location and movement of foreign citizens and operative control over the leaders of destructive forces and the persons who intent terroristic acts;
timely finding and presenting to the situational-operative headquarters of the internal affairs department the negative information published in mass media concerning preparation and holding of the elections.
Human Rights Center Viasna has all grounds to think that such headquarters of internal affairs departments have been established in all oblasts of Belarus. Having analyzed the given document, Human Rights Center Viasna comes to the following conclusions:
- the law-enforcement agencies are again ordered to watch and hold investigation and search operations towards representatives of oppositional movements and parties;
- on the eve and during the elections there will be held preventive arrests of representatives of oppositional movements, especially youth ones;
- there are prepared arrests of citizens in connection with the possibility of their participation in peaceful actions of protest.
Taking into consideration the experience of the electoral campaigns in 2006 and 2007, when illegal preventive arrests of opposition activists were massive, Human Rights Center Viasna states its grave concern with the possible repeat of this scenario during the present electoral campaign.
Human Rights Center Viasna reminds representatives of the Belarusian authorities that elections in the country must take place in full compliance with the present legislation, publicly and transparently, in the atmosphere of confidence. All ‘neutralizations’, preventive arrests and other actions of such a kind are illegal and will be regarded by us as facts of rude violation of human rights.
We also remind representatives of the official authorities that citizens of Belarus have the right to fre expression of their views and opinions, including imparting information and holding of free assemblies. These rights are guaranteed to the country’s citizens by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and also by a number of OSCE documents. We call the authorities to strictly abide by the requirements of the Constitution and the international undertakings of Belarus in the field of human rights.
We also remind that in the case of violation of human rights all responsibility will be born by the representatives of the law-enforcement agencies who will take part in it, including the persons whose surnames are mentioned in the given document.
We will immediately inform the Belarusian society and the international community including the international observation missions of the OSCE and the CIS about all facts of human rights violations.
Adopted by the Council of the Human Rights Center Viasna
Minsk, 15 September 2008