Statement by Human Rights Center “Viasna”
26 November 2012, Minsk
The imprisonment of the head of the organization, Ales Bialiatski, and confiscation of its office won't stop the activities of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”
On 24 November there has turned a year since the delivery of the sentence to the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property on charges of evasion from the payment of taxes, by which receiving financial means for the organization's activities was meant. We consider this verdict solely as a legal lynching of the most famous Belarusian human rights defender and an attempt to stop the activities of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”. We also have the same views on the confiscation of the apartment in Nezalezhnasts Avenue 78a-48 in Minsk where the central office of the organization has been situated for the last 12 years.
During the existence of this office of the HRC “Viasna” it has been visited by thousands of citizens who have been given legal assistance. We have raised funds for assistance to the repressed, held press-conferences, meetings, trainings and seminars. Our activities have always been carried out openly, despite the absence of the state registration since 2003 and the danger of prosecution arising from it.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” has grounded its activities on the international standards of human rights advocacy, provisions of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Declaration on Human Rights Defenders), adopted by the UN General Assembly, which guarantees the right protect human rights individually and association with others and seek funds for such activities.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna states:
The imprisonment of Ales Bialiatski and existence of political prisoners in Belarus indicate a critically bad situation of human rights in the country.
The reprisals against the head and the members of the HRC “Viasna”, as well as the confiscation of assets, will not stop our activities. The organization will not refuse from any of directions of the legitimate activities for the protection of human rights.
All victims of human rights violations can still count on our support and assistance.
We will continue defending the human rights values, struggle for their respect by the Belarusian authorities and inform the Belarusian society and the international community about the real situation of human rights in Belarus.