Front Line Defenders call to release woman human rights defender Olga Gorbunova
Olga Gorbunova (Volha Harbunova) is a Belarusian woman human rights defender. She is the former head of the non-governmental organisation Radislava. Radislava was established in 2002 by survivors of gender-based violence to help and offer support to women who are suffering from domestic and gender-based violence. Olga Gorbunova also created the social enterprise called Norm Cafe, which is an inclusive and safe cultural and social space that provides training and employment for women. In March 2021 Norm Cafe shut down due to security and economic reasons.
On 9 November 2021, woman human rights defender Olga Gorbunova was arrested by police in Minsk. Upon her arrest, the woman human rights defender was placed in detention the Okrestina detention centre in Minsk where she remains. Olga Gorbunova is allegedly being accused of violating Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Republic of Belarus, in relation to her role in organising marches in support of women’s rights in the summer 2020 in Minsk. If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison. Olga Gorbunova is yet to be given access to her lawyer in the detention facility.
Front Line Defenders expresses grave concerns about the detention of woman human rights defender Olga Gorbunova and believes it is in retaliation for her long-term, peaceful and legitimate human rights work. Front Line Defenders reiterates its concern about the major crackdown against human rights defenders and members of civil society who are outspoken and critical of the government in Belarus.