Ales Bialiatski: ‘Belarusian authorities harass human rights activists for their firm and unwavering position’
On 3-4 November in Strasbourg a conference ‘Situation of human rights activists in Council of Europe countries’ organized by the Commissioner on Human Rights of the Council of Europe’s office.
The conference was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on Human rights watchdogs. Despite of the fact that Belarus is not a member of the Council of Europe, a Belarusian human rights activist, the chairman of the human rights centre Viasna closed by the regime Ales Bialiatski was invited to the conference.
Challenges and threats which human rights activists face in their activities were discussed at the conference. Ales Bialiatski has made a statement noting that the main threat in the work of Belarusian human rights activists is the regime. The Belarusian authorities do not fulfill international commitments concerning human rights watchdogs they had undertaken, including the fulfillment of the declaration 53/144 of the UN on human rights activists. In particular, the Belarusian authorities do not fulfill the decision of the UN Committee on resuming activities of the Human Rights centre Viasna.
Over the last 10 years new human rights organizations are not registered, though such attempts have been made by Belarusian citizens many times. Belarusian human rights activists are administratively condemned on ridiculous reasons, they receive open threats from state-run media, undergo ungrounded libel and discrediting. Human rights activists undergo special examinations when crossing the border. They also face pressure of tax inspections.
Ales Bialiatski noted that the grounds for prosecution of Belarusian human rights activists by the regime is a unwavering firm and unchanged position of Belarusian human rights activists in the issues of human and political rights defense.
During the conference a personal meeting of the Commissioner on Human rights of the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg with Ales Bialiatski took place.