Belarusian human rights defenders: "Freedom to Bahrain!
On 4 March Belarusian human rights
defenders expressed their solidarity with President of the Bahrain
Center for Human Rights and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH Nabeel
Rajab who is serving a two-year prison term for actions in support of
the right to peaceful assemblies.
Members of Belarusian NGOs held several actions in support of Nabeel Rajab. Representatives of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Belarusian Language Society named after F. Skaryna and the Belarusian Human Rights House held a photo action under the slogan "Freedom to Bahrain!" at the Belarusian Human Rights House in Vilnius (in the uppermost photo).
In Minsk, "Viasna" activists photographed themselves in front of the confiscated office of the Human Rights Center "Viasna". As stated by a member of the organization Board Uladzimir Labkovich, this place was chosen as far as the grates on the office windows have already become a symbol of repressions against Belarusian human rights defenders.
"This action is similar to those held all over the world on FIDH initiative in order to support political prisoner Ales Bialiatski, head of the HRC "Viasna" and FIDH vice-President. Doubtlessly, it is very important for us to express our solidarity with a person who is also kept in prison as a consequence of human rights activities. We think that it is very important for prisoners in any country to feel the wave of support, to know they aren't left alone, that people are concerned with their fates and are ready to do everything possible for their release," says Uladzimir Labkovich.
Short before the action, representatives of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" passed to the honorary consul of Bahrain, Raphael Musayev, a petition with the demand of immediate and unconditional release of Nabeel Rajab, stop the pressurization and persecution of civil society activists and human rights defenders. "Pitifully enough, the court persecution of human rights defenders, trade union activists and other intellectuals, has become an everyday reality in Bahrain. Meanwhile, those who are detained or summonsed to the police are most often charged with "participation in unlawful assemblies". At the end of October 2012 Bahrain put a ban on any kinds of assemblies and demonstrations. At the end of December the ban was lifted, but the restrictions of freedom of expression, associations and assemblies are still in use," emphasizes a joint statement of FIDH and "Viasna".
In the photo: deputy head of the HRC "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich puts the petition in the postbox where the honorary consulate of Bahrain in Belarus is situated according to www.belarusbahrain.com.
"We didn't manage to meet with the honorary consul of Bahrain face to face, as we found out that the consulate was mythic – we didn't manage to find it on the addresses indicated on the Internet. However, we found a postbox and left the petition in it. We hope that in such a way the Bahraini authorities will get informed about the inadmissibility of systemic and gross violations of human rights, observed in the country nowadays," said Mr. Labkovich.
In the photo: Navapolatsk civil activists' action in support of Nabeel Rajab.
In the photo: activists of the human rights project "GayBelarus" holding a photo action in support of Nabeel Rajab.
The call of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" to support Nabeel Rajab was supported by civil activists from Navapolatsk and activists of the human rights project GayBelarus.