Front Line Defenders protests against travel ban to human rights defenders
The international foundation for the protection of human rights defenders Front Line Defenders issued a protest statement concerning the unlawful travel ban to Aleh Hulak, Hary Pahaniaila and Valiantsin Stefanovich. Here's the text of the statement:
Mr. Valiantsin Stefanovich, Mr Aleh Gulak and Mr. Garry Paganiayla have appealed to various governmental bodies against the travel ban imposed on them since March 2012.
Mr. Valiantsin Stefanovich is Deputy Director of Human Rights Centre Viasna; Mr Aleh Gulak is Chairman of the Belarusian Helsinski Committee and Mr. Garry Paganiayla is Director of the Legal Commission of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
Valiantsin Stefanovich filed an appeal to Tsentralny District Court of Minsk, received by the Court on 26 March 2012, against the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus, which imposed a temporary travel ban on him. According to Part 1 of Article 337 of the Civil Process Code of the Republic of Belarus, the Court should consider appeals within a one month period. On 4 May 2012, Valiantsin Stefanovich appealed to Minsk City Court to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Judge Alena Siamak of Tsentralny District Court for her failure to consider his appeal against the Ministry of Defense within the specified one month period.
In March 2012, Aleh Gulak and Garry Paganiayla appealed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the General Prosecutor of the Republic of Belarus regarding a violation of their constitutional right to freedom of movement, and a lack of legal basis prohibiting them and other human rights defenders from leaving the country. In March 2012, Aleh Gulak also appealed to Tsentralny District Court and Garry Pogoniayla to Moskovsky District Court of Minsk against the travel ban imposed by the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Ministry of Justice. The hearings have been postponed until 19 June 2012.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its concern regarding the travel ban imposed on Valiantsin Stefanovich, Aleh Gulak and Garry Paganiayla, and respectfully reminds the authorities that the right to freedom of movement is enshrined in Article 30 of the Constitution of Belarus.
Front Line Defenders believes that the travel ban imposed on the human rights defenders is a direct result of their legitimate and peaceful human rights work, in particular their denouncement of human rights violations in Belarus.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its calls on the authorities of Belarus to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban imposed on human rights defenders Valiantsin Stefanovich, Aleh Gulak and Garry Paganiayla, and respect their constitutional right to freedom of movement; 2. Ensure that other human rights defenders in Belarus are not subjected to a travel ban and that their constitutional right to freedom of movement is not restricted; 3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Belarus are guaranteed the right to free movement and are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
For more information, please see Front Line
Defenders' original urgent appeal on this case dated 15 March 2012.