Lawtrend writes to UN Special Rapporteurs about pressure on journalists and human rights defenders
At least 12 people were charged with illegal demonstrating as a result of a protest held on November 24 in central Minsk.
Among them were Natallia Satsukevich and Siarhei Kaspiarovich, observers of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. Thus, police officers equated monitoring of freedom of assembly to taking part in a protest. In addition, similar charges were brought against journalists Dzmitry Halko (Novy Chas weekly), Halina Abakunchyk (RFE/RL), and Katsiaryna Andreyeva (Narodnaya Volia newspaper).
For many years, Belarusian human rights organizations have been monitoring peaceful protests. They prepare reports with recommendations to improve the situation of freedom of assembly in Belarus and send sent them to the Ministry of the Interior, the Investigation Committee, the House of Representatives of the National Assembly and other government bodies. The observers are always marked with blue jackets and personal badges, they keep away from the demonstrators and are always easy to identify. Such facts of pressure have not been previously reported.
The Legal Transformation Center Lawtrend has prepared a communication, which was joined by the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
The message was sent to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
The letter provides a description of what happened and calls for the Special Rapporteurs to write to the government about the case. The communication also calls to insist on a visit to the country to study the situation with the freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of speech and journalists and the overall human rights situation in Belarus.
See full text of the letter.