Valiantsin Stefanovich: Belarusians can apply to Strasbourg court
A politically motivated ban
to leave Russia
for Belarusians will violate the Convention on Human Rights.
Valiantsin Stefanovich, deputy head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, comments for charter97.org on the statement of the Interior Ministry on the planned exchange of information about travel banned persons between Belarus and Russia.
“Does it mean that Belarusian opposition activists cannot go abroad via Russia? It's a difficult question. They have been talking about the unification of the databases of persons subject to a travel ban for a long time. Let's see what will happen,” the human rights activist says.
“If Belarusians are not allowed to leave Russia on political motives, they will be able to apply to the European Human Rights Court after they go through all courts in Russia, of course. Russia is a member of the Council of Europe. It ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. If Russia restricts Belarusians to leave the country for the reasons bearing no relation to the Russian legislation (placing a person on the Belarusian KGB watchlist, etc.), Belarusians will be able to apply to the court in Strasbourg after going through all court instances in Russia. In this case, they can demand a compensation,” Valiantsin Stefanovich said.
“Our Russian colleagues and we discussed a possible situation that Russia will not allow Belarusian citizens to go abroad acting contrary to human rights,” the human rights activist noted.