“We'll try to do everything possible to achieve the review of the annulment of the residence permit”
Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Centre "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich expressed his attitude to the decision on cancellation of the residence permit and the consideration of expulsion from the Republic of Belarus of the human rights activist Yelena Tonkacheva, leader of the Centre for Legal Transformation Lawtrend.
"I personally, and the whole Human Rights Centre "Viasna " regard these actions of the authorities as extremely politically motivated and related to the activities of Yelena Tonkacheva and the organization she heads. This is an attempt to deprive Belarus of one of the human rights activists, who has fruitfully worked in the field of human rights for many years.
The Centre for Legal Transformation Lawtrend is one of the leading human rights organizations in Belarus, and “Viasna” has maintained partner relations with it for many years. Lawtrend took an active part in many joint activities, including the difficult times, which occurred after December 19, 2010, and in 2011, when "Viasna" faced severe persecution by the authorities when our Chairman Ales Bialiatski was arrested.
The organization headed by Yelena Tonkacheva worked on the legal expertise of draft laws and regulations, has participated in various international mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review, which Belarus will pass again in 2015. A coalition of human rights organizations prepared an alternative report, a part of which is the analytical work of Lawtrend. They also prepared a separate supplementary report on freedom of association in Belarus.
I think that this is the real reason for the actions of the authorities who are now just squeezing her outside the Republic of Belarus, finding such a pretext as several facts of registering excess of speed on the road. No one else has been deprived of a residence permit in Belarus for such ridiculous reasons.
That's why we express words of solidarity and support to Yelena in this difficult situation and assure that we will do everything possible to prevent her expulsion and get the court decision reversed,” commented Mr. Stefanovich.
The issue of revocation of the residence permit to Yelena Tonkacheva will be considered on November 5.