On July 3, Ales Bialiatski, President of the Belarusian human rights centre Viasna and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and FIDH President Karim Lahidji met in Strasbourg with Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Mrs Brasseur used this opportunity to congratulate Mr Bialiatski in person, on behalf of the Assembly, on the award of the first Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. The Prize was awarded to Mr Bialiatski by the Assembly in September 2013, but the laureate, imprisoned since 2011, was unable to attend the ceremony. The President discussed with Mr Bialiatski the human rights situation in Belarus and the role that the Assembly needs to play to improve it.
“Mr Bialiatski is for us a symbol of an unbreakable commitment to human rights.I sincerely welcomed his release from prison on 21 June, and I am impressed by his strong will to continue his most valuable human rights work and his co-operation with the Assembly and the Council of Europe,” said Mrs Brasseur.
“While praising Mr Bialiatski’s commitment, I also want to express our full support for the work of all human rights defenders in Belarus, who are forced to fight for our common values in very harsh conditions. I am confident that this hard work will not be in vain, and I hope that with their help Belarus will soon become a truly democratic state, respecting the rule of law and human rights standards of the Council of Europe.”