August 4 is celebrated as the International Day of Solidarity with the Civil Society of Belarus.
Unfortunately, the situation with human rights in Belarus in recent years has not changed for the better. Events taking place in the former post-Soviet countries: Russia, eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and Azerbaijan have overshadowed Belarus. It’s worse everywhere, but we can still see the authorities restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens, and continue to repress civil society activists, human rights defenders and journalists. This was stressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Miklós Haraszti, in his report to the Human Rights Council on June 23. He noted that the human rights situation in Belarus had not improved during the reporting period.
The problem with human rights in Belarus remains an issue of concern. It negatively affects the entire post-Soviet region.
Belarus still has political prisoners. Six people are held in the country’s prisons for political reasons. The presidential election campaign has started, voting day is set for October 11, while one of the presidential candidates of the previous election, Mikalai Statkevich, is still in prison facing extremely adverse conditions. Political prisoners have been subjected to increased pressure. The number of political prisoners may be extended at any time.
Journalists working with foreign media are constantly brought to administrative responsibility. In recent months, dozens have faced administrative charges. For example, on June 9, Kanstantsin Zhukouski, a freelance journalist for the Belsat TV channel, was convicted and fined for the sixth time since the beginning of the year.
In February, the Belarusian authorities deported a known Belarusian human rights activist Alena Tankachova, citing trumped-up reasons; the activist is a Russian citizen and has lived in Belarus for almost 30 years.
The authorities in Belarus are not going to change their attitude to the civil society in Belarus. Harassment and repression against pro-democratic activists is today’s language of the Belarusian authorities.
Therefore, I call on you to join the celebration of August 4 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Civil Society of Belarus. Find a way to express your solidarity on this day.