05.10.2011 – The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has today expressed its dismay that Ales Bialiatski, a highly-respected human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, has been arrested by the Belarusian authorities.In a statement approved during a meeting on the fringe of the Assembly’s autumn session in Strasbourg, the committee said it was “outraged by the Belarusian authorities’ attempt to criminalise the funding of vital human rights work in Belarus by foreign donors, including European institutions and government agencies. This was done by treating monies channelled through accounts held in trust by Mr Bialiatski as his personal income for tax purposes.” The committee expressed its solidarity with Ales Bialiatski and urged the Belarusian authorities to “stop persecuting him and all other Belarusian human rights defenders”.
This website was created after the arrest of Ales Bialitaski, as an information portal about the struggle of Belarusian civil society, what has been done at the international level to end its harassment and what more can be done.
Human rights defenders and civil society in Belarus are subjected to harsh conditions. As a result, their plight has often been in the international spotlight, particularly in December 2010, when popular protest overs the 2010 Presidential elections was crushed by the State. Many people were arrested, harassed and beaten.
Arrested by the Belarusian authorities on grounds of “serious tax evasion” on August 4, 2011, Ales Bialiatski was subsequently condemned for his human rights activities. Ales Bialiatski is Vice-President of FIDH and President of the Belarus-based Human Rights Centre “Viasna”. Bialiatski’s case has become symbolic of the constant persecution that human rights defenders and representatives of civil society in Belarus as a whole are subjected to by the government.