No Swiss Skiing for Lukashenko: Swiss human rights group demands an entry ban for the Belarusian president

2011 2011-01-24T19:13:06+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Human  rights  group  Libereco  –  Partnership  for  Human  Rights  urges  the  Swiss government  to  immediately  impose  an  entry  ban  on  the  Belarusian  president Lukashenko and further high ranking officials of Belarus. The reason therefor is the  detention  of  dozens  of  political  prisoners  and  the  massive  intimidation campaign against the civil society.

"It  would  be  completely  unacceptable  and  damaging  the  reputation  of  our country,  if  Europe's  last  dictator  was  allowed  to  go  skiing  in  Switzerland,  only some weeks after he allowed the beating and detention of opposition politicians", said  Martin  Stadelmann,  chairman  of  Libereco  Switzerland.  In  February  2010 Lukashenko visited Switzerland for the last time.
Protests  against  the  rigging  of  the  Belarusian  presidential  elections  have  been brutally dissolved on the 19th of December. More than 700 people, among them
7  of  the  9  presidential  candidates  have  been  arrested.  For  weeks,  the  secret police  KGB  has  detained  and  interrogated  opposition  activists,  journalists  and human rights activists, and searched many of their appartments.
Around 30 dissidents are still in custody. They and 20 other regime opponents, who are not allowed to leave the country, are facing prosecution and long-term
imprisoment.  Libereco,  Amnesty  International  and  several  other  human  rights organisations,  as  well  as  several  Western  foreign  ministers,  are  calling  for  the immediate and unconditional release of all these political prisoners in Belarus.
"Switzerland  can  not  just  watch,  it  has  to  act.  Even  before  the  EU  decides  on entry bans and further sanctions on the 31st of January, the Swiss government can  move  ahead  and  give  a  clear  signal  for  democracy  and  human  rights  in Europe. First of all, we have to avoid that Belarusian officials are attending the World  Economic  Forum  in  Davos.  There  is  no  place  for  a  regime  that  is threatening its own people in the 21st century in Europe", said Stadelmann.
Poland  has  already  imposed  an  entry  ban  against  dozens  of  Belarusian  officials responsible for  election rigging and human rights violation. Switzerland has to follow immediately the decision of Poland.