Germany considers Belarusian human rights activists undesirable aliens?

2008 2008-10-16T20:31:38+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

In an interview for Radio Polonia, human rights expert Uladzmir Labkovich and analyst Yury Chausau commented upon German ambassador’s unwillingness to grant Schengen viasa to a number of Belarusian human rights activists.

‘We were to hold a round work table discussion on the results of the 2008 parliamentary election with the participation of German politicians and Belarusian journalists. Our visit was a well-arranged event. We have received Schengen visas before. I consider this as part of Europe’s new policy. Some European governments establishing extremely close contacts with Belarusian authorities, they would not be happy to hear that the situation actually has not changed, - says Uladzimir Labkovich.

Still, he is optimistic about the settlement of the problem. At the same time, analyst Yury Chausau thinks the incident a sign of misfortune. However, it has never been easy to obtain a Schengen visa for Belarusian citizens.

‘The procedures are humiliating. It’s much up to the embassy to decide. The Polish and the Lithuanian ones are bureaucratic, while the German is more and more severe and degrading. Even when I had an invitation from the Europarliament, they asked me lots of personal questions. The Schengen wall is a reality!’ – says Yury Chausau.

The analyst believes that, despite all, Europe is concerned with the truth about Belarusian elections.

‘I would not dare say it is not. Here are people in Europe willing to know the truth, and they will learn it. Belarusian human rights NGOs are on the alert. Officials can dream about a dialogue. But a dialogue stands for neglecting violations. It is quite possible that a dialogue will become an end in itself – not any changes for Belarus, but communication as it is.’ – explains Mr.Chausau.

He thinks that both German partners and the ambassador play the leading part in the dialogue, and they might have failed to issue visas due to political reasons. However, he says that it would not hamper information exchange, for contemporary means would surely compensate for the conflict.

‘Still, it is weird! The official Minsk keeps constructing a liberal décor. It is decorative and declarative. Europe… it seems like they have sign an agreement – ‘we do not call for actual changes, make a décor, so that we could close the question’. To prevent overenthusiastic politicians from demanding for a harsher reaction on Belarusian events. We will do business.’ It is a sign of misfortune. Does Germany consider Belarusian human rights activists undesirable aliens? What’s the threat about? Telling the truth about the election? That’s what concerns me deeply.’ – says Chausau.