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MPs from 21 countries call for release of Belarusian Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski

2022 2022-12-08T14:31:48+0300 2022-12-08T14:31:48+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Image by Libereco

Image by Libereco

In the run-up to International Human Rights Day and the Nobel Peace Prize award on December 10, 127 MPs from 21 countries are addressing the ruling regime in Belarus. In an open letter, they demand the release of all political prisoners.

The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the Belarusian human rights organization Viasna, Ales Bialiatski, is facing more than 12 years in prison. The 60-year-old has been innocently imprisoned for more than 500 days. Bialiatski is one of more than 1440 political prisoners in Belarus who are unlawfully imprisoned for political reasons.

On the initiative of the German-Swiss human rights organization Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights, 127 parliamentarians from all over Europe are now demanding the release of Bialiatski and all other political prisoners. The letter is being sent to Aliaksandr Lukashenka, Andrei Shved (Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus), Ivan Kubrakou, (Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus), and Aleg Matkin (Head of the Department for the Execution of Punishments).

100,000 signatures collected – to be given to the embassy

By the time the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded this Saturday, Libereco, together with the NGOs Campact and Campax in Germany and Switzerland, has already collected more than 100,000 signatures for the release of Ales Bialiatski, the also imprisoned opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova and all other political prisoners. The collected signatures will be handed over at a rally on Friday, 9 December, at 9:30 a.m. at the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Berlin. This is a reminder of those who stand up for their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association in Belarus and are therefore innocently in prison.

“The Open Letter from MPs from more than 20 countries shows impressively that we do not forget the political prisoners in Belarus. But now it is also up to the European governments. The imprisonment of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and more than 1400 other political prisoners must no longer be tolerated. The sanctions and punitive measures against the Belarusian regime must be tightened. The EU and Switzerland must finally exclude Belarus from the SWIFT payment system and from the qualification for the European Football Championship 2024, expel the Belarusian ambassadors and ban the red-green Lukashenka flag,” demands Lars Bünger, President of Libereco in Switzerland.

Text of the open letter: 

Open Letter to Alexander Lukashenko and Regime Leadership

We, parliamentarians from across Europe and representatives of our people from many countries, call for the release of Ales Bialiatski and all political prisoners in Belarus.

In October this year the globally respected Nobel Committee recognised Ales Bialiatski’s commitment and work to promote human rights in Belarus when they awarded him the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr Bialiatski’s arrest in 2021 is troubling in many ways, not least because the work of Viasna is about Belarus upholding its international commitments. Your country is signatory to the UN’s “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” and the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”. It is your responsibility to ensure the rights of your citizens are upheld in your country. It is your responsibility to ensure that your citizens and prisoners in your care are treated with dignity and humanity.  Yet, you imprison your countrymen and women who campaign to uphold the rights for which you are responsible.

It is now more than 500 days since Mr Bialiatski was arrested, and he is still without trial. At the same time, Mr Bialiatski’s organisation has documented that your regime detains more than 1,440 people who should never be in prison.

Along with the Nobel Committee we recognise and celebrate Mr Bialiatski’s commitment to peace and human rights. We call upon you to release him and all of the other prisoners whose rights you are denying.

At the moment of publication, 127 MPs had signed the open letter. The most recent list of the signatories can be found on the Libereco website.


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