Students advised to abandon NGO activities, says independent monitoring
Belarus has intensified pressure on the students for their participation in the activities of civil society organizations, say coordinators of a monitoring on violations of human rights and academic freedoms of students carried out by the Studentskaya Rada NGO in the framework of the Public Committee of Bologna.
Maryna Shtrakhava, Studentskaya Rada’s coordinator for legal advice, said in an interview with Radio Liberty’s Belarus service that during the monitoring they recorded cases when deans or other representatives of the university administration interviewed students, describing their involvement in civil society organizations as undesirable. They advised to quit such activities, encouraged them to think about the possible negative consequences, says Ms. Shtrakhava.
“These are reports coming not from activists, but from ordinary students who repeatedly took part in activities of an organization, or at least joined the organization’s VKontakte community. Previously, this was not recorded by us. Earlier, there could be pressure on activists who publicly and openly carried out their activities, but ordinary people were never harassed, especially for mere participating in events. This monitoring recorded quite a different situation. It turns out that now people are harassed for at least some connection with public organizations,” says Maryna Shtrakhava.
Meanwhile, during these interviews representatives of the university administrations did not directly threaten students with expulsion or some disciplinary actions.
“But the very fact that the students are talked to because of their civil activity, in our opinion, it is a violation of the right to freedom of association,” emphasizes Maryna Shtrakhava.
Source: Assembly of NGOs