Film and debate on human rights in Belarus at Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva


An international human rights film festival took place in Geneva on March 9, 2014. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) dedicated this festival to human rights defenders who symbolize the battle for human dignity and human rights throughout the world. For Belarus, this person is Ales Bialiatski, the imprisoned head of the Human Rights Center Viasna.

The documentary film Europe’s Last Dictator received a public showing as part of this festival. Before the film began, Mariangela Zappia, the EU ambassador to the UN in Geneva, and Sasha Koulaeva, head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk at FIDH, addressed the audience.

After the film, a debate was moderated by the journalist André Loersch...

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Chronicle of court time: a film about political prisoners in Belarus

The series of short films Chronicle of Court Time consists of eight stories dedicated to members of the Belarusian Association of Journalists who have suffered for their belief in freedom of speech. These individuals include the authors of various publications and sights like Ales Bialiatski, Dmitry Bondarenko, Sergey Voznyak, Andrey Pochobut, Natalya Radina, Pavel Severinets, Anton Suryapin, and Irina Khalip. Some of these authors are forced to work under a written pledge not to leave the country, some have left the country, and some are serving sentences in prison.

Oleg Dashkevich, the author of the project, explained that “Many authors worked on this project. Our goal was to move away from a dry, information-based interpretation of their fates...

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Interview: EU Commissioner Füle on Belarus

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Speaking at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty headquarters in Prague on May 9, European Union enlargement chief Štefan Füle addressed a variety of issues related to the enlargement aspirations of the six Eastern Partnership countries and the nations of the Western Balkans. But he reserved his strongest rhetoric for the two countries that have traditionally been at opposite ends of the enlargement spectrum.

Füle said Belarus, which remains under EU sanctions following a flawed presidential vote in 2010 and a massive crackdown on opponents, has seen civil liberties strangled by autocratic leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

“In Belarus, it is not only political prisoners; it is the level of the democracy, the level of the rule of law in Belarus, it is the the absence of free and fair elections ...

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A documentary about tortures in Belarus

A presentation of a documentary about the tortures, which civic activists underwent in Belarus during detentions and arrests, took place in Minsk.

It has been filmed by a director Volha Mikalajchyk in 2013.

The documentary “Tortures in Belarus. Apocalypse” was shown during the Solidarity Marathon, which took place at the BPF’s office. It tells about the tortures, cruel and inhumane treatment and other outrageous violations on the part of law enforcers and special services.

The cases of a former presidential candidate Ales Michalevic, civic activists Pavel Levinau and Andrej Mauchan, FEMEN activists are described in the film. On their example the author shows the dreadful picture of the real situation with human rights in our country.

See the documentary in Belarussian and Russian :

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“Viva Belarus!”, a feature film about the life of nonconformist youth in Belarus

“Viva Belarus!”, a feature film from Polish director Krzysztof Lukaszewicz portraying the harsh life of nonconformist youth living under the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, premieres at Prague’s Febiofest on 19 March 2013. The film is loosely based on the experiences of Franak Viačorka, now a journalist with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), during his time as an army conscript and blogger using social media to push for democracy in Belarus.

See the trailer (in Belarusian with English subtitles)

Franak Viačorka, who co-wrote the screenplay, sat down with RFE/RL to discuss the film and the impact he hopes it will have.

RFE/RL: What did you set out to accomplish when you began writing the screenplay?

Franak Viačorka: First it was Lukaszewicz’s idea...

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Film about Ales Bialiatski and “Viasna” activities transmitted on “BelSat” TV channel

The central characters of this documentary are the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, his wife Natallia Pinchuk and the teacher Natallia Ilyinich, who was dismissed from her job for political reasons, and whom the human rights defenders assisted in the protection of her rights.

Volha Shved, director: “The history of modern Belarus is a history of repression. Every momentous event – the election, the increase in prices, changes in legislation – ends with repression. The organisation of assistance to the repressed is a direct confrontation with the repressive authorities...

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Ales Bialiatski: “We are saving the honor of Belarus!”

The video tells about the activities of the imprisoned head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski and his prosecution by the Belarusian authorities. On 25 September the human rights defender met his 50th birthday behind bars. This day in Warsaw his wife, Natallia Pinchuk, was passed Human Rights Defenders Award for her husband on behalf of the Secretary of the US Department of State Hillary Clinton.

While passing the award the US Ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein stated that “Ales Bialiatski, who was one of the originators of the Belarusian democratic movement and a founder of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, remains one of the most courageous fighters for freedom and human rights”.

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Ales Bialiatski – imprisoned human rights defender in Belarus

Ales Bialiatski, head of the Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison on tax evasion charges. In August 2011 he has been detained for a year and the pressure on him increases in prison. Ales has recently received three reprimands. His food rations and visiting hours are limited and the financial compensation for work performed in prison has been lowered.

In this short video report from Belarus, Ales’ wife and colleagues speak about their concern for how he and the other political prisoners are being treated.

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Human rights defenders under pressure : documentary in support of Ales Bialiatski

A six-minute documentary drawing a dark picture of the situation of human rights defenders in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia is being released on November 8 by 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), in a context where human rights defenders are confronted to increasing repression.

Human rights defenders under pressure

The trial against Mr. Ales Bialiatski, FIDH Vice-President and President of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” (Belarus), currently arbitrarily detained in relation with his human rights activities, is presently taking place in Minsk...

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Ales Bialiatski: “They won’t gag human rights defenders in Belarus”

This video on the arrest and criminal prosecution of Ales Bialiatski, chair of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” which has provided assistance to thousands of victims of political repressions, has been realised by Ales colleagues on September 2011.

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