News on the topic: Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations

09.12.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in November 2009

In Belarus November started with the population's panic caused by the epidemic of an acute virus disease that often brought such complication as pneumonia. On 4 November Liliya Ananich, the first Deputy Minister of Information, stated the ministry 'will stop any attempts to misinform the population of the country'. The same day Valiantsina Kachan, Deputy Minister of Health, voiced the data from which it followed that 19 people had died of pneumonia during the two last weeks. All of them were tested for swine flu and in seven cases the tests were positive. This was all official information. Meanwhile, for 2-29 November 170 819 cases of swine flu and acute respiratory viral infection were registered in Homel oblast alone. 44.2% of the ill were children and 55.8% – adults. 3.3% (5 825 persons) were hospitalized. As of 30 November quarantine was declared in ten educational establishments of the Homel oblast.

Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in October 2009

10.11.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in October 2009

10 October is the World Day against the Death Penalty. The abolition of the death penalty or introduction of a moratorium on it is one of the priorities in the dialogue between the EU and Belarus. However, the Belarusian authorities show little progress in this issue. That's why in January 2009 the Belarusian human rights defenders launched the campaign Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty. They inform the population, collect signatures and distribute printed materials facing obstacles from the side of the state. In particular, the campaign activists from many regions of Belarus intended to hold pickets dated to the World Day against the Death Penalty. However, most of the actions weren't sanctioned by the local authorities. Besides, on 10 October in Navapolatsk, police detained human rights defender Zmitser Salauyou and the young activists Alina Kucharenia and Yury Palonski during an informational action.

Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in September 2009

15.10.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in September 2009

September closed the additional six-month test period the Belarusian authorities were given for starting democratic transformations in the country. Meanwhile, no significant steps were made for improving the situation of human rights in Belarus. The fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of consciousness remained restricted. On 24 September, at a briefing for representatives of international missions and journalists, the Assembly of pro-Democratic NGOs gave a preliminary evaluation to the activities of the Belarusian authorities on normalization of the situation of NGOs for the previous six months. Siarhei Matskevich, Chairperson of the Working group of the Assembly of NGOs, stated the absence of progress on the three points set for by the European Union: the abolition of Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code, the abolition of the death penalty, the resolution of the problem of non-registration of civil organizations and introduction of a reduced-price office rent tariff for them.

08.09.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in July-August 2009

A year passed since the celebration of the official Independence Day on 3 July 2008, at which more than 50 people had been injured after the explosion of a home-made bomb. A criminal case under the article 'malignant hooliganism' was brought on this fact. Aleh Piakarski, Chairperson of the organized crime department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, stated to Interfax that, 120 persons were considered as suspects in the explosion case since 3 July 2008 till 3 July 2009, but none of them proved to be guilty.

09.07.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in June 2009

June was marked by trials of the politically motivated criminal cases against participants of the 'Process of 14' and human rights defender Leanid Svetsik. The under-aged Maksim Dashuk was punished with 15 months of personal restraint without direction to open penitentiary institution. Despite the adoption of the law on amnesty, only one participant of the 'Process of 14', Mikhail Pashkevich, was amnestied. Personal restraint was replaced with twice larger terms of corrective labor for two other participants of the 'Process of 14', Ales Charnyshou and Ales Straltsou.

08.06.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in May 2009

In May several mass actions took place, all of them under vigilant police surveillance. In particular, on 7 May an action marking the tenth anniversary of disappearance of opposition politician, former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka was held in the center of Minsk. Scores of civil activists were detained on the eve. Haunting also continued in different parts of Minsk after the action. A total of 30 people were detained. The detainees were pulled into busses where they were insulted and beaten by police. As written by Maksim Serhiyets in his complaint, police officers humiliated and threatened him. They took away his mobile phone and then hit him in stomach with hands and feet and smothered him. These actions were accompanied with four-letter words. One of the policemen seized the activist by the coat and tore it. When Mr. Serhiyets was thrown down on the bus floor, one of the policemen walked on his back. Other detainees also lied down on the floor and were beaten. Then all detainees were guarded to the Tsentralny district police department. In several hours they were let go without being explained the reasons for the detention. No reports were drawn up.

06.05.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in April 2009

Few people gathered for the traditional action Chernobyl Way at the end of April. 'The past rally can be called an action of recession', commented Liavon Barshcheuski, Chairperson of the BPF Party. Meanwhile, persecution of democratic activists is going on. Human rights defenders are of the opinion that only point changes have taken place. The Minsk city executive committee banned holding of the action on the route that was proposed by its organizers. Democratic activists were detained in different regions of the country.

11.04.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in March 2009

Celebration of anniversary of the Belarusian People's Republic is one of the traditionally important events of March. 25 March 2009 was the first time in the recent years when the appropriate street action went on peacefully, without forced dispersals and detentions. However, one can't say that everything was alright and the right to peaceful assemblies was not violated. On the day of the event the police and security services conducted a number of preventive searches and detentions in the Belarusian capital and regions. In the afternoon the police burst into the apartment of Aleh Ladutska, a Minsk activist of the For Freedom movement, and searched it. They also detained Palina Dziakava, an activist of the For Freedom movement. The apartments rented by the Young Front activists Dzianis Karnou and Valer Matskevich were searched as well. In both cases police referred to telephone calls informing them about fights in the apartments.

03.03.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in February 2009

In February police dispersed two peaceful democratic actions: on 14 February – in honor of St. Valentine's Day and on 16 February – an action of solidarity with political prisoners and families of the missing political and civil activists. Some of participants of these actions applied for medical aid. No one was detained.

05.02.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in January 2009

The universal financial crisis did not pass Belarus. The National Bank set a new currency exchange rate, as a result of which the Belarusian ruble was at once devalued by 20%, which inflicted loss to ordinary citizens and the importers who bought goods for currency.

14.01.2009 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in December 2008

The last month of the year summed up its results and eloquently showed that, despite the demonstrative wish of the authorities to lead a dialogue with the West, the situation of Human Rights remained the same. On one hand, two (only two!) independent newspapers were returned to the state distribution system, the republican Human Rights and the educational association For Freedom was registered (on the fourth attempt). On the other hand, the pressurization of dissidents continued.

09.01.2009 Review-chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in October-November 2008

At the end of September the elections to the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus were over. In October the candidates continued appealing against the official results. The Central Election Commission received 35 complaints. At its sitting on 13 October the CEC rejected the complaints of 27 candidates. On 24 October five more complaints were turned down as well. Mikalai Lazavik, secretary of the Central Election Commission, stated that the plaintiffs had no more instances to complain to: ‘according to the election laws in such issues the decision of the Central Election Commission is final and is without appeal’.

09.10.2008 Review-chronicle of human rights violations in Belarus in September 2008

On 2 September the presentation of the report Incarceration conditions in the Republic of Belarus, prepared by the International Federation for Human Rights with the aid of Belarusian Human Rights defenders, took place in Minsk. The report was composed on the basis of an international research mission and is a valuable source of information about the incarceration conditions in Belarus, as there is almost no reliable information on this issue due to absence of supervision over the penitentiary system in Belarus by any national or international agencies and institutions. During the presentation the FIDH secretary general, Louis Peres, welcomed the release of the last political prisoners by the Belarusian authorities, but stated that the situation of Human Rights in Belarus was still disturbing and the incarceration conditions in the country were extremely unsatisfactory and could be considered as a form of inhuman treatment, which is prohibited by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

08.09.2008 Review-chronicle of human rights violations in Belarus in July-August 2008

At the end of June the parliamentary electoral campaign began. That’s why July and August were defined by numerous violations in this sphere.

04.07.2008 Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in June 2008

The main events in Belarus in June were the official appointment of the parliamentary elections, the start of the electoral campaign and the adoption of the new law On mass media that considerably aggravated the situation of mass media in the country and was evidently repressive. 24 June the president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka signed order #344 On appointment of the elections to the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus of the fourth convocation. By this document the elections were appointed on 28 September 2008. Short before this the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and other Human Rights defenders stated their intention to monitor the elections.