Solidarity with the civil society

The wave of repression that followed the presidential elections of 19 December 2010 has led to a dramatic decline in teh situation of human rights and civil and political liberties in Belarus. Since then, the international community have expressed its solidarity with Belarusian civil society in many ways.

Please see the below articles on solidarity shown with Belarusian civil society:

Front Line Defenders launches Olympics campaign on 12 human rights defenders

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Front Line Defenders launched an online and social media campaign  to focus attention on the plight of 12 human rights defenders (HRDs) from Eastern Europe and Central Asia coinciding with the launch of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The ‘Rights. Risks. Change!’ campaign calls on the public to take solidarity action to support these 12 defenders and to pressure local officials to respect the work of HRDs.

All 12 of the HRDs highlighted in the campaign have displayed great courage and integrity in their work on a range of human rights issues. From those who are suffering long-term imprisonment like Ales Bialiatski in Belarus and Azimjan Askarov in Kyrgyzstan to Russian HRDs like Stephania Koulaeva and Evgeny Vitishko who face criminalization for their work challenging discrimina...

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Mylène Farmer signs petition against the death penalty in Belarus

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On October 24, three days before her arrival in Minsk, where Mylène Farmer is expected to present to the public her new show “Timeless”, she signed a petition of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus.”

The well-known French singer did not remain indifferent to a letter from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, in which human rights activists told her about the problem of the death penalty in Belarus – the last country in Europe, where people are still deprived of life on behalf of the state.

There can be no higher goal, more holy, more worthy than this one: abolish the death penalty,” Mylène Farmer quoted these lines when signing the petition...

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“Last Dawn” as an opportunity to share your position on the death penalty

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A rock concert “Last Dawn”, dedicated to the issue of the use of the death penalty in Belarus, was held on 5 October in Bialystok. Thanks to the online broadcasting, it was watched by thousands of Belarusians, regardless the border between Poland and Belarus, the “black lists” of the musicians who took part in the concert, and a ban on the discussion of the topic of the death penalty in the public space in Belarus.

On 10 October, the World Day against the Death Penalty, the broadcast version of the musical project “Last Dawn” appeared on the web. It contains new songs presented by Liavon Volski, Anastasiya Shpakouskaya, Aliaksandr Pamidorau, Hanna Khitryk, Viktar Rudenka. Ales Dzianisau and Zmitser Vaitsiushkevich.

According t...

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Belarusian political prisoners on the short list of Sakharov prize

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On 30 September the Foreign Affairs Committee of European Parliament announced of the short list of candidates for Andrey Sakharov Prize “For the freedom of thought”. Among the contenders for the award were called Belarusian political prisoners Ales Bialiatski, Eduard Lobau and Mikalai Statkevich, as well as the US national Edward Snovden and the Pakistani human rights activist, schoolgirl Malala Yusufzai.

Belarusian political prisoners were nominated to this prize by the MEPs Marek Migalski, Jacek Protasiewicz and Philip Kaczmarek.

The final winner will be announced on 10 October by the heads of all seven parliamentary groups of the European Parliament. The grand award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 20 October.

The Sakharov Prize, established in 1998, has a cash value of 50 millio...

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Belarusian political prisoners are in the focus of attention at the book fair in Gothenburg

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During the book fair in Gothenburg the human rights organization Östgruppen organized a seminar “Political prisoners in the center of Europe”. During the seminar, the floor was taken by the Östgruppen chairman Martin Uggla and photographer and journalist Maria Sodeberg, who talked about Ales Bialiatski and Mikalai Statkevich.

Martin Uggla urged politicians in Sweden and the European Union to act more consistently and fundamentally against the Belarusian regime.

It is important, of course, to demand the release of political prisoners, but this is not enough. The EU should also require changes at the system level. Free and fair political elections should be held. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association should be respected...

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FIDH President Karim Lahidji: the principle of non-interference is a fig leaf covering inaction

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Iranian lawyer Karim Lahidji became the head of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) this May. In Iran, where he worked with defense of political prisoners, he was exposed to arrests and assaults and even an explosion attempt. When it became evident that the Iranian powers would not hesitate to murder the unwanted lawyer, Karim left the country and continued his fight for the fate of the Iranian nation abroad. But Karim Lahidji’s goal is to help other countries ruled by dictators, such as Belarus.

The FIDH President answered the questions of editor-in-chief of charter97.org Natallia Radzina.

- Mister Lahidji, it is the first time an Iranian became the head of the FIDH. You know from your own experience how dictatorships function...

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European Parliament nominates Bialiatski, Lobau and Statkevich for Sakharov prize

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40 European MPs signed for the nomination of the Belarusian political prisoners for this prestigeous prize.

The collection of signatures was organized by the MEPs Marek Migalski and Philippe Kaczmarek, as well as the deputy head of the European Parliament Jacek Protasiewicz. This information was given to the Polish media by Marek Migalski.

Among other things, the Belarusian political prisoners will be competing for the prize with former CIA officer Edward Snovdenam, nominated for it by the “green” fraction of the European Parliament.

Sakharov Prize was established by the European Parliament in 1988. It is given for achievements in the field of human rights and democracy...

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Postcards for political prisoners fail to reach destination

The Office of the MEP Marek Migalski received back the parcel it had sent to Belarusian political prisoners. The parcel had a label “Forbidden” on it. It contains over a hundred postcards with words of support for political prisoners Mikalai Statkevich and Dzmitry Dashkevich, Radio Racyja reports.

It is noteworthy that the cards came back on the day when the Young Front leader was released,” says the initiator of the action “Freedom x2”, MEP Marek Migalski.

Within just one month some 1,000 well-known people from different parts of the world sent postcards with words of support to Belarusian political prisoners as part of Freedom x2 solidarity campaign. These included the Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, Bundestag MPs Bärbel Kofler and Uta Zapf.

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Vilnius: banner “freedom to political prisoners” hanged out on the building of the Belarusian Embassy

An action dedicated to the second anniversary of the arrest of Ales Bialiatski took place in the capital of Lithuania.

The event was held near the Belarusian Embassy to Lithuania and was attended by about 30 people. The action participants put on masks with a portrait of Ales Bialiatski and unfurled national flags and posters: “Human rights advocacy is no crime!”, “Solve problems, not jail those who speak openly about them!” and “Freedom to political prisoners!”.

During the event some unknown people hanged out a white transparency right on the wall of the Belarusian Embassy. The banner contained a portrait of Ales Bialiatski and an inscription in English “Freedom for political prisoners in Belarus”. It could be seen well enough from the Embassy’s windows.

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The poster rem...

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Actions to be held on the International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus

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Moscow, 4 August. At 4 p.m. a round table with the participation of human rights defenders and experts who study the development of the civil society in Belarus will take place at the design factory “Flacon”, Bolshaya Novodmitrovskaya Street, 36-26-7. The experts will read short reports and answer the questions asked by the public. The presentation of the book “Bialiatski’s Case” will also take place at the round table.

At 17:30 there will open the exhibition “Solidarity is stronger repression”, which will give the visitors an opportunity to see the life of the country through the eyes of Belarusian photographers.

Voronezh...

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