Assembly of Democratic Non-Governmental Organizations of Belarus calls to release Ales Bialiatski

Assembly of Democratic Non-Governmental Organizations of Belarus notes with concern the intensification of the offensive on the human rights community of the country by the authorities. Arrest and prosecution of Ales Bialiatski, leader of the Human Rights Center Viasna, is a demonstrative action which seeks to intimidate and destroy the Belarusian human rights movement.

Human rights NGOs are one of the most efficient and effective components of the Belarusian civil society which is distinguished by its professionalism and courage.

The work of the Belarusian human rights defenders has always encountered opposition from the state authorities of Belarus who do not recognize the universal values ​​of human rights and ignore the world’s humanitarian standards.

After the events of 19 December last year, given the rapid deterioration of the situation of human rights and flagrant violation of basic principles of the rule of law by the Belarusian authorities, human rights activists have been at the forefront of the struggle for human dignity and democracy in Belarus. Belarusian human rights organizations and human rights activists, acting as individuals, took up the challenge and managed to oppose the machine of authoritarian rule effectively and consistently.

This selfless and courageous work of the members and volunteers of the human rights movement has now become the main obstacle to the creation of a police state in Belarus.

We note with concern that in July-August 2011, human rights organizations have become targets for the complex of repressive actions of the Belarusian authorities. Cruel and comprehensive nature of this company causes an extraordinary concern: the attack concerns leaders of the national human rights movement who constitute the most active core of the national civil society:

In particular, the national human rights public association Belarusian Helsinki Committee was issued with written warnings was repeatedly required to pay huge economic sanctions for the election observation activities held a decade ago. This organization, as well as the educational institution, Center for Legal Transformation, faced with sanctions for collecting information on human rights and its representation in international bodies, including United Nations. A number of human rights activists from organizations that have been denied official registration, are under constant threat of criminal prosecution under Article 193-1 of the Penal Code.

The instigation of the criminal case against a leader of the Belarusian human rights defender, founder and Chairperson of the Human Rights Center Viasna Ales Bialiatski, who is also vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights, and his detention cause our especial concern and indignation. These actions by the authorities contradict to the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and obligations under international law and the Constitution of Belarus. They are unacceptable and insulting to the country.

The Council of the Assembly of NGOs of Belarus:

– calls on the authorities to release Ales Bialiatski and terminate the proceedings in his criminal case;

– calls on all structures of civil society in Belarus to show solidarity and support for human rights organizations and human rights defenders who face persecution;

– calls on the international community and intergovernmental organizations to use all possible political and legal measures for the suspension of attacks against human rights defenders in Belarus,

The Council of the Assembly of Democratic NGOs in Belarus separately addresses the states of the European Union which support the development of democracy and civil society in Belarus, asking them to refrain from actions that contribute to the repressive agencies of the Belarusian state in their unlawful and politically motivated pressure on human rights defenders.

5 August 2011
Press-service of the Assembly of NGOs

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