Belarusian authorities again deny visa to foreign human rights activist

2015 2015-04-28T16:25:58+0300 2015-04-28T16:25:58+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Lars Bünger, president of the human rights organization Libereco

Lars Bünger, president of the human rights organization Libereco

According to Lars Bünger, president of the international human rights organization Libereco - Partnership for Human Rights, the Belarusian Embassy in Berlin denied him a visa last week.

This is the fourth denial for the human rights activist. Over the last four years, Libereco has been campaigning for the release of political prisoners in Belarus. Earlier, Lars Bünger was denied a visa in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

According to him, this time he had planned to take part in a “very special journey organized by the German-Belarusian IBB Minsk/Dortmund linked to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II”. “The aim of the journey was a joint Belarusian-German remembrance and reconciliation. But obviously German human rights defenders are not the kind of person the Belarusian authorities want to welcome for such an event. That shows quite clearly that a dictatorial regime like the Belarusian one is not an appropriate partner for Germany and Europe to build up a common European house based on joint values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It’s impossible to come to a true reconciliation between Germany and Belarus as long as a criminal dictatorship rules the country,” says the human rights activist.

However, these obstacles by the Belarusian authorities do not discourage him from working for the benefit of human rights in Belarus. “Looking back to the German war of extermination in Belarus I feel a historical responsibility to not look away if injustice is taking place in Belarus. Everyone who is a real friend of Belarus has to support the persecuted ones, especially the political prisoners. The lesson I have learned from the darkest part of German history is, that we should never accept that people are suppressed by dictatorial regimes. That’s why we started with Libereco some years ago to speak out against human rights violations in Belarus,” says he.

Lars Bünger notes that the fourth refusal of a visa was not a big surprise: “Everyone who knows the character of the Lukashenka regime should be aware that human rights defenders and democrats are not welcomed by the Belarusian authorities.”

Libereco president expresses the hope that the German government and the EU will not invite Lukashenka and his supporters at such meetings as the EU summit in Riga, as long as “international human rights defenders and democrats are banned to visit Belarus and as long as there is a single political prisoner behind bars in Belarus”.