Robiert Tyszkiewicz: Ales Bialiatski is the face of the Belarusian people
Former Belarusian political prisoner, the head of the Human Rights Centre "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski received an award named after the Polish Ombudsman Pawiel Wlodkowicz. The prize is awarded annually for the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms.
According to Polska Agencja Prasowa, Ales Bialiatski is the first winner of this award who is not a Polish citizen. The ceremony was held in the Senate of Poland on the International Human Rights Day.
In a speech in honor of Ales Bialiatski, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Robert Tyszkiewicz said that it was a great day for all friends of Belarus. He noted that Bialiatski, being the "face of the people of this country," struggledfor democracy and fundamental human rights.
"Belarusian civil society and its initiatives in the struggle for human rights in the first place demonstrate the courage of people who want and expect change. People who are willing to fight for the values and continue to sacrifice themselves. Ales Bialiatski is a bright representative of the Belarusian civil society its her face," said Mr. Tyszkiewicz.
Accepting the award from the hands of the Polish Ombudsman Irena Lipkovicz, Ales Bialiatski said that he understood that this was a clear manifestation of solidarity of the Polish people and the Commissioner for Human Rights with all Belarusians who want to live in a free and democratic country.
"The struggle for human rights, for freedom in Belarus continues. I remember quite well how the Poles struggled, and they are an excellent example for us," added Mr. Bialiatski.
He stressed that, although he himself, thanks to the efforts of the international community, had been released from prison, Belarus was still holing six political prisoners, youth activists were harassed and independent media were limited. He estimated that the human rights situation in the region was deteriorating as a result of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
"We have to remember that the situation of human rights is being violently aggravated in Russia itself, though we speak regularly only about the conflict in Donbass. Non-govermental organizations in Russia suffer attacks too. They have been nicknamed as “foreign agents”, independent media are closed, civil liberties are restricted,” emphasized the human rights activist.