Human rights defenders

The working environment for human rights defenders in Belarus remains extremely difficult. The civil rights situation deteriorated after the 19 December 2010 presidential elections. Many human rights organisations continue to be denied legal status, with searches and confiscations conducted by the police. Peaceful assemblies are usually banned. These factors consequently lead to the arrest, judicial harassment and sometimes imprisonment of human rights defenders. Ales Bialiatski, President of HRC Viasna, is currently serving a four and a half year sentence since August 2011, in the severe conditions of a working detention camp.

Please see the below articles on the situation of human rights defenders in Belarus:

“Viasna” and FIDH presented the report on human rights violations in Belarus to OSCE

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At the the OSCE Human Dimension Meeting the heads of the HRC “Viasna” – the president of the center – former political prisoner Ales Bialiatski, vice-president Valiantsin Stefanovich, and coordinator of the campaign “Human rights defenders against the death penalty” Andrej Paluda – presented review of the human rights situation in Belarus on September 24 in Warsaw.

During the meeting on “Convincing violations of political, economic and social rights in Belarus”, organized by the International Federation for Human Rights and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” human rights defenders stressed that “because of the situation in Ukraine, as well as the deterioration of the human rights situation in Russia, we think that less attention is paid to Belarus “.

At the panel discussion were touched pr...

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A meeting with Ales Bialiatski was held in Mogilev

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A meeting with the president of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski was held on September 19 in Mogilev.

This is the first visit of a former political prisoner in Mogilev after his release from Bobruisk colony in June. Several dozens of Mogilev citizens, who came to the meeting, greeted Ales Bialiatski, former political prisoner, with applause.

During the meeting, the human rights defender presented his book “Mercurial silver of life,” which consists of the essays written by him in custody. In the essays that Ales Bialiatski was sending from Bobruisk colony, he describes the work of human rights defenders before and after the events of 2010 in Belarus, tells the story of the participation of international human rights missions...

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Ales Bialiatski presented his book in Grodno

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There was held the first public meeting after the release of human rights defender, the president of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski in Harodnia. The core of the meeting was the presentation of his book “Mercurial silver of life.” The book is written in prison, when he had to write in very unfavorable conditions.

Ales Bialiatski is saying:
– All the texts in the book can be divided into two parts. These are memories of my life and of maybe interesting moments in which I was, which are important for our social life, because, in principle, we don’t have as much as we wish such a genre like memories. We lived 25 years, almost a quarter of a century, of a very active social life and there were ups and downs during this life.

The main technical work on the book has fulfilled ...

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Belarusian NGOs sent its report as part of the Universal Periodic Review to the UN

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Report, presented to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, provides an overview of situation with the human rights in Belarus. Human rights defenders have expressed anxiety about the lack of real progress on key problem spheres of human rights in the country, noting concrete steps of the implementation of the recommendations made and accepted by Belarus in the first cycle of the UPR.

The report was prepared by the following organizations: “Belarusian Helsinki Committee“, HRC “Viasna”, PU “Center for Legal Transformation“, The Assembly of Democratic NGOs of Belarus, the NGO “Belarusian Association of Journalists”, NGO “Legal Initiative”, Committee “Solidarity”, Initiative “For freedom of religion, Office of the rights of persons with disabilities, Belarusian documentatio...

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Bialiatski’s book “Quick Silver of Live” presented in Vitsebsk

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The author, ex-political prisoner Ales Bialiatski came there together with the compiler of the book Alena Laptsionak. At a meeting in the “European club” they told the story of the creation of a collection of essays written in the Babruisk penal colony, where he served a prison term for his human rights activities.

The book “Quick Silver of Life. Prologue. Essays of a Human Rights Defender” is devoted to the Belarusian and international human rights movement, as well as to the events of 2010 in Belarus. The publication includes letters with the memories and reflections describing the everyday life and the events preceding the arrest of Mr. Bialiatski, as well as details of his foreign missions.

During the meeting, Ales Bialiatski said that the opportunity to write this book greatly supp...

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Homel activists appeal ban on NGO registration

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On August 26, founders of the republican human rights association “Pakt” (“Covenan”), a movement for the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, submitted to the Supreme Court their appeal against the refusal of the Ministry of Justice to register the public association.

Accordingto the NGO’s executive director Leanid Sudalenka, the organization was created to protect the interests of citizens, in whose cases the UN Human Rights Committee rules to find violations of their civil and political rights by the state.

Refusing to grant state registration to the association, the Ministry of Justice referred to such inaccuracies in the documents as an error in the apartment number of one of the founders and the date of birth of another activist...

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Report on discrimination and inequality in Belarus detained at border

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Report prepared by the Equal Rights Trust and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee has been detained at the border and is awaiting an examination by the Department of Smuggling. Meanwhile, human rights activists have received a letter from the Office of the President saying that the information contained in the report has been “taken into consideration”.

A joint report by the British and Belarusian human rights activists entitled “Half an Hour ahead of Spring: A Report on Discrimination and Inequality in Belarus” was printed in the UK and mailed in Belarus, but was detained by customs officials at the Minsk airport.

The BHC has received a certificate, which mentions no claims against the edition. However, the parcel has been submitted for examination to the Department of Smuggling...

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Picket in support of political prisoners banned in Brest

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Unlike other cities of Belarus, this action was scheduled fir 10 August, but the Brest City Executive Committee refused to authorize it, referring to the celebration of the Day of the builder.

According to human rights activist Uladzimir Vialichkin who has applied for the picket to the executive committee, he intended to hold the picket on the playground in the park of soldiers-internationalists, which was officially designated by the local authorities as a place for public events.

However, the authorities didn’t allow the picket, as at the specified time the playground would be allegedly used by “another event”. As it was found, the holding of the picket was impeded by festivities on the Day of the builder...

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Belarusian justice ministry denies registration for new human rights organisation

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The Belarusian justice ministry has denied state registration for a new human rights organisation called the Movement for the Implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or Pakt (Covenant).

The founders of the organisation filed a registration application and the required package of documents on June 27.

Mikhail Pastukhow, a former judge of the Constitutional Court, was elected chairman of the organisation at its founding conference held in Minsk on June 7.

Human rights defenders Viktar Karniyenka and Uladzimir Katsora were elected deputy chairmen, while Leanid Sudalenka was elected executive director.

The justice ministry denied registration under ridiculous pretexts, Dr. Pastukhow told BelaPAN...

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Czech Foreign Minister receives Ales Bialiatski

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Lubomír Zaorálek, received Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski at the Czernin Palace on 5 August, 2014. Ales Bialiatski founded the most respected Belarusian human rights organization “Viasna”, which provides legal and financial support to the victims of Belarusian regime repressions.

The visit of Ales Bialiatski to the Czech Republic follows a few weeks after his release from jail. He was sentenced for 4.5 years in a trial based on fabricated charges in 2011. “Welcome in Prague and I am glad that you are free,” said Minister Zaorálek and added: “I would like to assure you that our support of democratic forces is permanent. I hope there will be a growing number of free thinking and pro-European people in your country.”

Among other topic...

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