Viasna supports guidelines aimed to define “political prisoner”
A guideline aimed to define the notion of “political prisoner” was presented at the Third Human Rights Forum held in Vilnius in late October.
The guideline was developed by a working group of human rights activists from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine, including Emil Adelkhanov, Intigam Aliyev, Anna Baranovskaya, Lyudmila Vatskova, Hanna Herasimava, Valentin Gefter, Aleh Hulak, Sergey Davidis, Eldar Zeynalov, Yevgeniy Zakharov, Inna Kulei, Olexandra Matviychuk, Tatsiana Reviaka, Olga Salamatova, Valiantsin Stefanovich, Alena Tankachova, Annagi Hajibeyli, Volodymyr Yavorsky.
Its purpose is to unify various approaches of human rights organizations on the definition and use of the term "political prisoner".
The concept of "political prisoner" is increasingly referred to in international documents, media reports, reviews by national and international organizations. Often, however, this concept suggests a different meaning. Therefore, in practice it is extremely difficult to determine whether a particular person is a political prisoner. On the other hand, the uncertainty of this concept allows repressive governments to avoid liability in cases of politically motivated persecution, because it gives them the opportunity to claim the groundlessness of such allegations. Development of common criteria and their joint application is set to help solve this problem.
In developing the guide experts used the experience of the Council of Europe, the international human rights organization "Amnesty International" and national human rights organizations around the world.
As of November 12, the document has already been joined by a number of Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian human rights organizations: the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, as well as 11 more human rights organizations, the Russian human rights organization "Memorial", the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, the Legal Transformation Center.
At present, the accession to this document of other Belarusian organizations is announced.