Congress of Belarusian expatriates demand release of political prisoners
The delegates of the 6th Congress of Belarusians of the World that opened in Minsk on July 23 under the auspices of the International Public Organization “Batskaushchyna” (“Fatherland”) called on the Belarusian authorities to release political prisoners, the BelaPAN news agency reports.
The call is stated in a collective statement entitled “On the Act of Good Will” adopted today at the Congress.
The document caused a protest by a group of delegates, mainly from Ukraine, who argued their position by saying that “it is an internal affair of the Republic of Belarus.” The issue triggered lengthy debates, however, only eight people were in favor of the removal of the statement from the agenda.
The statement says that the citizens’ concern about the future of their country is a natural phenomenon, worth of honor and respect.
“It is natural that not all people equally evaluate various actions of the government, especially those relating to issues of domestic and foreign policies, the prospects of preserving the independence of the country,” says the document.
The authors emphasize, “Strong and self-assured power shall be in dialogue with its political opponents.”
"Unfortunately, Belarus today has people who are held in prison for their political beliefs that do not coincide with the official opinion, and do not have the opportunity to participate in such a dialogue,” note the authors of the statement, adding that the international community calls such people political prisoners.
“In building a strong independent Belarus essential is the unity of the nation, an understanding among all the citizens of the values of democracy and sovereignty. The authorities should bring people together, be fair and friendly to all citizens regardless of their political views. Cruelty does not create but destroy,” says the statement.
We call upon the Belarusian authorities to make an act of goodwill and release from detention all people who are there to serve punishment for their political beliefs.
We believe that such actions by the leadership of the country will be positively assessed by the people of Belarus and the international community,” conclude the authors of the statement.