Over 110 activists taking part in Third Belarusian Human Rights Forum
Speaking at the two-day event, Tatsyana Ravyaka of the Vyasna human rights group said that Belarus’ human rights movement was “developing and expanding.” The previous Belarusian Human Rights Forum, held in 2010, brought together representatives of only 17 organizations, she stressed.
The activist noted that rights defenders in Belarus had experienced many ordeals since 2010. “These ordeals have not scared us but have demonstrated what big potential human rights defenders have as they have displayed great teamwork in solving problems, an incredible level of solidarity and mutual support,” said Ms. Ravyaka.
Referring to imprisoned Vyasna leader Ales Byalyatski, Ms. Ravyaka said that his conviction was a challenge to Belarus’ entire human rights community. According to her, Mr. Byalyatski told associates that he was with the forum’s participants in his thoughts and asked for one chair in the auditorium to be reserved for him and left vacant.
The forum had been organized by Vyasna, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Center for Legal Transformation (Lawtrend), the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Salidarnasts (Solidarity), an organization that helps victims of political persecution in Belarus, as well as the Lithuanian-registered Belarusian Documentation Center, Belarusian Assembly of Non-governmental Pro-democratic Organizations and Belarusian Human Rights House.