HR Center Viasna issues statement on brutal dispersal of 14 February peaceful action
On 14 February 2008 the unregistered Young Front organization conducted a peaceful youth demonstration.
In spite of the fact that the action was peaceful, the demonstrators were attacked by representatives of the Belarusian riot police, using violence and compliance weapons. As a result, dozens of citizens were beaten up. However, none of the participants of the action was detained, which indicates the deliberate character of the violent actions, aimed at intimidation and display of power by the Belarusian authorities. The violence used was demonstrative and deliberately excessive. It should be observed that the action was preceded by a series of searches at the private apartments of the Young Front members.
The Human Rights Center Viasna considers the actions by the authorities an outrage against human rights, guaranteed by the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – the right to the freedom of peaceful assembly and the freedom of expression. The brutal actions by the Belarusian police indicate that the Belarusian authorities keep expressing their disrespect for the fundamental human rights standards, along with unwillingness to initiate democratic changes.
Considering this, the Human Rights center Viasna expresses its protest and once again calls upon the Belarusian authorities to abide by their human rights commitments and secure the Constitutional rights of the Belarusian citizens. The Human Rights center Viasna addresses the European Union bodies with a request to take the brutal violation of human rights into account, when evaluating the implementation of the EU recommendations in the field of democratic changes of the state regime by the Belarusian authorities.