Brussels – 22 July 2013
Today, on the occasion of Belarus Foreign Affairs Minister Vladimir Makey’s visit to Brussels, FIDH held a demonstration in Rond-Point Schuman, in the heart of the European (EU) district.
Demonstrators held portraits of 12 political prisoners currently behind bars and put up black and white balloons symbolising the Belarusian jails This is Mr. Makey’s first visit on the EU territory since the EU lifted temporarily his visa ban on 25 June 2013. Travel restrictions for Belarusian officials are part of EU’s restrictive measures against Belarus.
FIDH reiterated that the human rights situation in Belarus remains catastrophic and that any political dialogue between the EU and Belarus must remain conditioned by the release of political prisoners and reinstatement of their civil and political rights, as well as sustainable systemic changes in the direction of the rule of law and respect for human rights. FIDH called for the EU to remain firm and consistent with the international community in its policy towards Belarus, including the United Nations. As a result of his activities, human rights defender Ales Bialiatski has been jailed for nearly two years. Mr. Bialiatski is the head of Human Rights Centre Viasna and was reelected in May 2013 as a Vice-President of FIDH.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-CSI) and International Partnership for Human Rights(IPHR) joined the protest. The event was covered by international and Belarusian media including Spanish news agency EFE, Radio Free Europe, Belgian news agency Belga, Radio Sweden, Belarusian news agency Belapan, and The Associated Press.
See other photos of the event