European HR organizations condemn detention of Viasna activists

2010 2010-03-26T13:53:15+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


Mr. Alexander Lukashenko 

President of the Republic of Belarus

Fax: (375 17) 226 06 10 


                  March 25, 2010

Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden), Belarusian Human Rights House (Lithuania), Human Rights House

Foundation (Norway) and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemn the detention of the activists of

the Human Rights Center ‘Viasna’ Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich and Iryna Toustsik, as yet

another case in which the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech are severely restricted by

Belarusian authorities.   

The three activists from the Human Rights Center ‘Viasna’ were arrested on 23 March 2010 in Minsk for

holding a peaceful protest against death penalty and the execution of two recent death sentences. On

24 March 2010 the arrested protesters were convicted by a court of violation of the Civil Code and fined.

The two death sentences were pronounced in the mid of negotiations that the government of the

Republic of Belarus is having with the Council of Europe, in order to declare a moratorium on the death


The freedom of assembly and expression are fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the

Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

(ICCPR), ratified by the Republic of Belarus on 12 November 1973. Article 21 of the ICCPR states; “the

right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this

right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic

society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of

public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”  

Although freedom of assembly is provided for under Belarusian law, the authorities have in a number of

cases decided not to give permission to hold peaceful assemblies. This practice is not in line with Article

21 of the ICCPR and is therefore a violation of the freedom of assembly.

We urge the authorities of the Republic of Belarus to protect and promote the rights and freedoms of

citizens enshrined in the national legislation and the international treaties to which the country is a party. 

We call upon the Belarusian authorities to put an end to the harassment against all human rights defenders,

including at the judicial level. 



Civil Rights Defenders 

Norwegian Helsinki Committee 

Human Rights House Foundation

Belarusian Human Rights House in exile in Vilnius 


Copy to: 


Mr. Viktor Golovanov 

Minister of Justice of the Republic of Belarus

Tel./fax: (375 17) 2009755



Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus

Fax: +375 17 226 42 52 



Mr. Valentin Sukalo

Chairman Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus

Tel./fax: (375 17) 227 12 25