10 December: chronicle of celebration (incomplete)
On 10 December the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was celebrated in Belarus. The event was marked by numerous detentions and other hindrance from the side of the Belarusian authorities.
At 9.20 a.m. Hrodna activists discovered that they cannot get to the office where the texts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights meant for distribution were kept. The matter is that at night an unknown delinquent pumped the locks with glue.
10.05 In Vitsebsk the officers of the local executive committees, procuracies, police departments and courts received congratulations from Pavel Levinau, representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee in Vitsebsk oblast. In these congratulations the human rights activist reminded them that Belarus is a founder country of the UN, an elaborator of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a party of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He also stated that at present the country evades from implementing its international undertakings.
Levinau added that only this year citizens of Vitsebsk oblast have passed more than ten complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee. He attached to the congratulations a brochure with the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and materials on situation of human rights in Belarus.
10.45 In Hrodna the police detained human rights activists Aleh Kalinkou, Uladzimir Khilmanovich and Viktar Sazonau who were handing out to passers-by brochures with the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The detainees were guarded to Leninski district police department of Hrodna.
11.00 in Hrodna the police detained journalist Ivan Roman who elucidated the action of the human rights activists.
1 p.m. According to the information of Viktar Sazonau, all detainees were released from Leninski district police department of Hrodna. The police demanded from them written explanations and told that later they would decide whether to compose any violation reports against them.
2.15 In the center of Mahiliou the police detained the democratic activists Alexander Karaliou and Alexander Padalian for distribution of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The detainees were guarded to the police station.
3.05 In the center of Minsk, in GUM department store riot policemen in mufti detained the human rights activists who wanted to congratulate citizens on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by giving them copies of this document. All in all, six people were detained: Ales Bialiatski, Uladzimir Labkovich, Aleh Matskevich, Maryna Statkevch, Siarzhuk Sys and Iryna Toustsik. All of them were guarded to Tsentralny district police department of Minsk.
4.00 Lawyer Pavel Sapelka arrived to Tsentralny district police department of Minsk to represent the interests of Ales Bialiatski and Iryna Toustsik. He was not allowed to enter the building of the police department and went to the procuracy of Tsentralny district of Minsk to file a complaint against the police lawlessness.
4.00 In Brest democratic activists held a number of actions dedicated to the anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration. Human rights activists with Uladzimir Vialichkin at the head held a meeting at the Locomotive stadium. About 300 persons took part in it, including small entrepreneurs. The action was watched by a large number of riot policemen.
4.30 All detainees were released from Tsentralny district police department in Minsk. One of them, Siarzhuk Sys, commented to Radio Racyja:
‘I have been just released from Tsentralny district police department.
At first the police detained near the central KGB office about nine members of the Young Belarus dressed in prison robes.
A bit later human rights defenders and youth activists held a joint action: they distributed brochures with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and souvenir flags with the inscription ‘60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. Seven human rights activists were detained. A bit later another group, eight representatives of different youth movements, was taken to Tsentralny district police department as well. Some of the detainees were fingerprinted.’