Human rights activists warn authorities against building concentration camps
Activists of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” say they are outraged over the President's recent order to tighten the conditions for convicts serving prison terms on drug-related charges.
At a meeting on the problem of drug trafficking and drug addiction, Aliaksandr Lukashenka urged to toughen the prison conditions for persons convicted of drug trafficking.
Following the meeting, Siarhei Daroshka, head of the Interior Ministry’s Department of Corrections, told reporters that the Ministry of Interior would surely follow the President’s instructions. “The moral and living conditions for these people will be much worse than for other convicts,” he said.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" sees in this approach a risk of creating concentration camps for specific categories of prisoners, said Valiantsin Stefanovich, the organization’s deputy head, in his comment on President Lukashenka’s order.
Earlier, Viasna harshly criticized Lukashenka’s proposals on the prison conditions of separate categories of prisoners made in late 2014. “We should create intolerable imprisonment conditions for them. If we have a lot of them, but I do not think we do, so that we should build them a separate colony, but if we do have a lot of them, let one of the colonies be spared for this. If we do not have enough people for an entire colony, let’s have one unit, one barrack, or anything else in the colony, let’s have such conditions for them, so that they, when they are serving their terms, frankly speaking, asked for death. The same is true for the dealers,” said Lukashenka.
According to Pavel Sapelka, an expert in the penal system, says that President Lukashenka’s order violates both the norms of national legislation, which regulate the legal status of convicts, and the provisions of international law ratified by Belarus.
Imprisonment in itself is a punishment, and criminal responsibility is not intended to cause physical suffering or humiliation of human dignity, stress the human rights activists.