No to War! Statement of Human Rights Center Viasna regarding participation of Belarus in military aggression against Ukraine
Statement by the Human Rights Center Viasna
February 27, 2022
In connection with the ongoing participation of the Republic of Belarus in providing conditions for waging an aggressive war against Ukraine from its territory, and with information being received by Viasna about the preparation of deploying armed forces of the Republic of Belarus to take part in military actions on the territory of Ukraine, we appeal to the authorities and citizens of Belarus and would like to recall:
The peoples of our planet have a sacred right to peace. It is a fundamental obligation of every State to preserve and promote the right of peoples to peace. Ensuring the exercise of the right of peoples to peace requires that the policies of States be oriented towards eliminating the threat of war, especially nuclear war; eliminating the use of force in interstate relations, and resolving international disputes by peaceful means on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations.
In accordance with Article 18 of the Constitution, the Republic of Belarus's foreign policy shall be guided by the principles of equality of states, non-use of force or threat of force, inviolability of borders, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs, and other universally recognized principles and norms of international law. The Republic of Belarus aims to be a nuclear-free and neutral state.
Ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus, the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus provides that the parties build their relations on mutual respect, trust and agreement, guided by the principles of respect for state sovereignty, equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other, non-use of force or threat of force, including economic and other. Under the treaty, each party undertakes to refrain from engaging in or supporting any action directed against the other and to prevent the use of its territory to the detriment of the other's security interests.
The law “On the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus” excludes their use for waging aggressive war, defining as tasks the Armed Forces the armed defense of the Republic of Belarus and the repulsion of attacks under any strategic situation, both independently and in cooperation with the armed forces of allies.
Under such conditions, we declare that the Belarusian authorities, while continuing an unprecedented crackdown on civil society in their own country, are pursuing a foreign policy that contradicts the Constitution and the law. This policy not only enables participation in the aggression of the Russian Federation, but also may soon directly involve citizens of Belarus in an unjust bloody war on the territory of a neighboring state, with which we are connected by good-neighboring legal, long-term historical, economic, and cultural ties.
Coercing the Belarusian military to carry out unconstitutional, clearly violating the law orders is a crime. At the same time, given the deep legal crisis in Belarus, military personnel who refuse to carry out obviously illegal orders may face criminal prosecution.
In this connection, we call on the Belarusian authorities to return to the constitutional and treaty framework of relations with states; to stop participating in the escalation of international tensions and refuse to take part in the war; to make every possible effort to end Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. We also declare that the military personnel's refusal to take part in a war of aggression should be regarded exclusively as the exercise of their constitutional civil rights.
No to War!