Human Rights Day marked all over Belarus
On 10 December Belarusian human rights activists held
actions in many Belarusian towns and cities
to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
As far as assemblies, rallies and pickets are banned in the city, human rights defenders and civil activists handed out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights while walking in the city. According to human rights defender Siarhei Housha, 2011 was one of the most difficult years, not only for human rights defenders, but also for civil activists, members of political parties and organizations.
“18 activists were detained by police during silent protest actions in summer-autumn 2011: Artsiom Babei, Uladzimir Hundar, Ales Krauchenia, Zmitser Kuzmiankou, Artsiom Lastavetski, Ryhor Makarevich, Yuliya Nikitsina, etc. The city authorities also banned 14 pickets. Siarhei Auchynnikau, Anzhalika Kambalava, Viktar Meziak, Viktar Syrytsa and Viktar Tsiapin were sentenced to pay fines for organizing and taking part in the local assembly on 8 October. Ryhor Hryk, an activist of the United Civil Party, was issued with a warning by the procuracy. Baranavichy hasn't seen such number of repressions against the active part of the society for a long time already,” commented Mr. Housha.
Human rights defenders and activists of opposition parties handed out more than 500 copies of informational materials dedicated to human rights issues, including texts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the bulletin “Brestskaya Prava” (“Brest law”) and special instructions of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee “How to Behave Yourself with Police” and “To Be Remembered during Participation in Peaceful Action”. The materials were distributed at three markets of Brest.
According to a representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Ihar Maslouski, people treated the action very positively. Many of them approached human rights defenders, started talking to them and drew many cases of violation of political, civil, social and economical rights.
Human rights activists held an action dated to the Human Rights Day at the city markets and other places. They handed out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, leaflets and brochures of the campaign against the death penalty, bulletins with description of the situation with political prisoners in Belarus and the sentence to the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, Ales Bialiatski.
People treated the action with interest and eagerly took the materials. Human rights defenders also reminded Hrodna residents about collection of signatures against the death penalty and for release of Ales Bialiatski.
Maladechnka human rights defender Eduard Balanchuk marked the Human Rights Day despite the official prohibition to hold a picket. He stood at the central square, handing out human rights editions and telling passers-by about the holiday.
People showed a positive attitude, expressed gratitude. Some of them even said that they had a great respect for Eduard and people like him.
Police officers played their usual role at the action: they checked Eduard's documents and looked through the human rights brochures which were handed out by him. They saw nothing wrong there and therefore went away to consult their brass. Eduard managed to hand out the remaining brochures and went to a cafe located nearby. The policemen returned to the place where he had stood and walked in the square for a long time, looking around. Eduard Balanchuk waited till they left the square and then went away too.
Salihorsk human rights defenders held a photo action dated to the Human Rights Day, in cooperation with the website saligorsk.org. The organizers decided take photos of people holding large posters with excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The idea was supported by local democratic activists.