"We need to do more." A Viasna human rights activist spoke at the opening of the assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
The 15th annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum is taking place in Brussels from November 14 to 16. The event brought together about 250 representatives of civil society organizations from the Eastern Partnership and the European Union to discuss the future form of multilateral cooperation of the Eastern Partnership, the role of civil society and ways to ensure its sustainability in the future. Kanstantsin Staradubets, a human rights activist of Viasna, spoke at the opening of the assembly.
"In four weeks, at a ceremony in Oslo, the Norwegian Nobel Committee will present the Peace Prize. However, the current laureate, human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, will not be able to receive the award because she is in prison in Iran. Not for the first time. Unfortunately, we all saw the same thing last year, when the leader of Viasna Ales Bialiatski could not attend the ceremony for the same reason. He is still in custody and, most likely, will remain there while Lukashenka is in power. It looks like a certain trend. An alarming trend, to put it mildly. Given the appalling conditions in prisons in Iran and Belarus, I am afraid that we may lose these courageous leaders. How we lost Azimzhan Askarov, who died in prison in Kyrgyzstan in 2020. It seems that not enough was done then. It is obvious that more needs to be done today, as civil society activists continue to be behind bars for their work. More support for families and civil society organizations, more solidarity, more care. But most importantly, more pressure on the repressive authorities," Kanstantsin Staradubets, a human rights activist of Viasna, said during the opening of the Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.