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:

People are prohibited to read the website of HR Center “Viasna” at work

Participants of the 6th yearly conference “Business Internet”, held on 3-4 October in Minsk, were shown the so-called “black-list” of national web-resources, the access to which is blocked in all state institutions of the country.

The black list also includes the web-site of the human rights center “Viasna”, popular socio-political websites: charter97.org, belaruspartisan.org, currency exchange portal prokopovi.ch and Yauhen Lipkovich’s blog, lipkovichea.livejournal.com.

This list was created by the Operative-Analytical Center of the President in conformity with ruling #11/1 of 26 June 2010.

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Human Rights Center “Viasna”: 15 years of persecution

Since its inception in 1996, the human rights organization “Viasna 96”, and then the Human Rights Center Viasna” was consequently and ruthlessly persecuted by the Belarusian authorities. All members of this organization were subject to detention, beatings, raids, arrests and fines. A complete list of the facts of persecution would take more than a dozen pages. However, most often the lightning of the state anger fell on the highest point of the organization, its head Ales Bialiatski.

In April 1996, the human rights organization “Viasna 96” was established.

On 23 February 1997 Viasna was officially registered as the Minsk Human Rights Center “Viasna-96”.

In 1998, Viasna was liquidated by a decision of the Justice Bureau of the Minsk City Executive Committee.

On 9 November 1998 the...

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Arbitrary arrest and acts of harassment against Mr. Uladzimir Labkovich

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

 

Belarus

September 27, 2011

 

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Belarus.

 

New information:

 

The Observatory has been informed of the arbitrary arrest of and acts of harassment against Mr. Uladzimir Labkovich, legal adviser of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, following a peaceful gathering organised in support with Mr. Ales Bialatski, President of Viasna and Vice-President of ...

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Speech of Ales Bialiatski at the European Parliament on the human rights situation in Belarus, July 2011


Ales Bialiatski at the European Parliament on… par fidhdailymotion

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Video of search of Minsk office of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” on January 2011

On January 17, 2011 a search was conducted of the Minsk office of the Human Rights Center Viasna.

Video in Russian

As was reported by the BelaPAN human rights defender Valentin Stefanovich, the initial attempts to enter the premises were made at approximately 15:30. But because the attempts were made by unknown plain-clothes individuals, the human rights defenders decided not to let them in. Later however, uniformed police officers arrived with a warrant to search the premises. At that point, the door was opened. According to Stefanovich, members of the Committee for Government Security (KGB) brought a warrant to search the premises in conjunction with a criminal case...

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FIDH 7-minute film Bitter Winter in Belarus

The FIDH 7-minute film Bitter Winter in Belarus denounces the violent repression exercised by the Belarus authorities against all the dissident voices that have protested against the rigging of the December 19, 2010 presidential elections.


Bitter winter in Belarus – FIDH par fidhdailymotion

Following the announcement of the election results, about 700 persons demonstrating peacefully in the centre of Minsk to denounce electoral fraud, were arrested and sent to prison, many of them were severely beaten. Among them were seven opposition candidates, along with political activists, independent journalists and human rights defenders...

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Harassment against activits who campaign for the release of Ales Bialiatski

25 August 2011

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Belarus.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed of acts of harassment against activists who campaign for the release of Mr. Ales Bialatski, President of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Viasna” and Vice-President of FIDH.

According to the information received, on August 23, 2011, in Mahiliou, journalists Ms. Alina Skrybunova and Mr. Yauhen Hlushakou, as well as activist Mr. Pavel Varashylau were arrested following a picket organised to demand the release of Viasna President during whic...

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HRC “Viasna” will continue working despite being refused official registration in 2009

As was announced at the press conference, held on June 3, 2009, by one of the founders of the human rights association “Nasha Viasna” (name chosen for re-registration of HRC “Viasna”), Valentin Stefanovich, the work will continue despite being refused official registration.

Video in Belarusian

According to him, on May 25, the Ministry of Justice of Belarus has for the third time issued a ruling that the human rights association “Nasha Viasna” cannot be registered in accordance with current laws. «The qualms of the Ministry of Justice in allowing the association to register are not founded on laws of Belarus. For example, they maintain that the list of founding members of the association contain inaccuracies and insufficient information...

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