Day of Solidarity with Belarus
(16/02-2011) Norwegian Helsinki Committee the 16th of each month marks Day of Solidarity with Belarus. We demand from Belarusian authorities the immediate release of all detainees held in the aftermath of the 19 December events and a total end to the wave of arrests, harassment and searches of human rights activists, lawyers and journalists in Belarus.
The 19 December 2010 Presidential elections culminated in the unprecedented repression of opposition leaders, activists, journalists, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens of Belarus. Incumbent president Aleksandr Lukashenko declared himself the winner of the elections with 79.7 % of the vote, granting him a fourth term as the president of the republic. More than 10 000 citizens protested on the evening of 19th December at what is perceived by national and international observers as unfair and falsified elections. The same night, at least 639 participants of at the protest rally were beaten and detained, and later convicted to administrative penalties. Hundreds served up to 15 days of detention. At present, 42 political leaders are accused and 12 more suspected in criminal cases of participating in or organizing mass riots, risking up to 15 years in prison. Among them we find six of the ten presidential candidates as well as journalists. Belarusian authorities show a total disregard for the right to defense of the many detainees, who are isolated in KGB prison facilities or forced to house arrest without access to the outside world, including their lawyers.
A climate of fear has spread throughout Belarus and those addressing the repression are harassed by police interrogations, cases of illegal searches and confiscation of property targeting NGO activists, journalists, lawyers and other individuals who have e.g. been subject to administrative arrests in the past. This is particularly worrying as the activity of unregistered NGOs in Belarus is criminalized and authorities prevent NGOs from registering.
A full list of all suspects and their status can be found on the web site of the Human Rights Center Viasna.
Background for the campaign: The international action Day of Solidarity started in Belarus October 16, 2005 in memory of the disappearance of Victar Gonchar and Anatoly Krasovsky on 16 September 1999, and has since been marked as a Day of Solidarity with all victims of the repression by the regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko.