Ales Bialiatski: government opposes any human rights activity
The government of Belarus continues to ignore human rights issues, Ales Bialiatski said in his comment on a recent decision by the Mahilioŭ authorities to deny registration to a local Center For Gender Studies Ruža.
According to the NGO’s head, Alena Barysava, the ban referred to absence of gender discrimination in the country, as “gender equality is guaranteed by the Constitution of Belarus”. Therefore, equality is secured by authorized government bodies, while eradicating discrimination is allegedly beyond the NGO’s competence.
Commenting on the statement of the absence of gender discrimination in Belarus, Ales Bialiatski cited a striking episode from the Soviet time, when a Russian lady said there was “no sex in the Soviet Union” during a US-Soviet TV Bridge in 1986.
“It’s just the same thing: Mahilioŭ officials say that there is no gender discrimination in our country. In fact, it can be only claimed by people who do not want to be realistic about the life that we live, these people are insincere and hypocrites. It is obvious that the problem of gender discrimination is relevant for Belarus. It is all over the world. Sometimes it is hidden, camouflaged, but often open,” Viasna leader said.
Ales Bialiatski says the ban is a “manifestation of the nervous reaction to the citizens’ wish to register a human rights organization”.
“No new human rights organizations have been registered for a long time already, and the current ban is yet another example after the case of the national association Pact two years ago and an attempt to close the Mahilioŭ Human Rights Center last year,” says the human rights defender. “It's the stubborn unwillingness of the authorities to face the problems of human rights in Belarus, both political and social ones, and the desire to control, to filter all manifestations of public life.”
Viasna head emphasizes that the declaration of freedoms in the Constitution does not guarantee the full exercise of these freedoms in real life.
“It is the mission of human rights organizations to enforce the rights and freedoms prescribed by the Constitution and international agreements. Paradoxically, such a decision itself violates the Constitution: formally advocating constitutional rights, they are actually breaking the law,” says he.
Summing up, Ales Bialiatski says: “The authorities are afraid of human rights defenders and any forms of their activity, therefore they refuse to register new human rights organizations. Meanwhile, this is a gross violation of the Belarusian legislation and the international obligations of Belarus.”