Statement by the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the Promotion of Civil Society and Human Rights
Statement by the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the Promotion of Civil Society and Human Rights оn the situation in Belarus
January 25, 2011
We appeal to those concerned about the situation in Belarus, a month after the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstration in Minsk on December 19; when in one night, with a disproportionate and unjustified use of force, over 600 individuals have been detained. Since then, harassment of civilians has continued in the forms of arbitrary detention, rape, inhumane treatment of detainees, including denial of medical care, procedural violations in administrative proceedings, searches and seizure of property from non-governmental organizations, the pressure on lawyers, intimidation, threats of dismissal from work, and dismissal of students from academic institutions.
Over 30 individuals, including two Russian citizens, received criminal charges. Among them are almost all the former Belarus presidential candidates, as well as renowned cultural and academic figures. The majority of these, including women and those in need of medical attention, are detained in unnecessarily strict isolation, deprived of meetings with family and open access to lawyers and legal counsel.
Belarus, in union with Russia, carried out large-scale persecution of citizens protesting the policies of their government; and massive violations of human rights continue to this day, including violations of freedom of expression, public assembly and association. The Belarusian government does not provide assurances of fair trial, independence of lawyers, protection for human rights defenders, or the prohibition of inhuman and cruel treatment.
We are particularly concerned about the silence of the Russian government in connection with the ongoing events in Belarus. This inaction gives reason to the Belarusian authorities to regard it as an endorsement of their illegal and violent actions.
In the fall of 2010, President Medvedev stated in his video blog that the Belarusian authorities should solve internal problems of the country and investigate numerous cases of disappearances; noting that Russia, like other countries, is not indifferent to these matters. Since then, the situation in Belarus has deteriorated in a much more dangerous direction, and the persecution of dissidents is gaining momentum.
We believe that the Russian authorities should immediately:
-- assess the illegal nature of the activities of the authorities of the Republic of Belarus during and after the events of 19 December 2010, and condemn the numerous violations of human rights;
-- use diplomatic and other opportunities, including those within the Union State, to urge the Belarusian authorities to restore the rule of law, prevent violence and violations of human rights, adhere to international commitments in the human dimension, and to stop the pressure on civil society;
--support the international civic appeal regarding the initiation of the "Moscow Mechanism" of the OSCE in the light of the serious threats to compliance with the obligations of Belarus in the sphere of the human dimension;
-- appeal to the authorities of Belarus with request to identify legal avenues for release from custody those accused in the mass riots, in order to facilitate the realization of their right to protection during the investigation of the events of 19 December;
-- call upon the Belarusian authorities to not hinder the monitoring of the ongoing situation in the country, and investigation the events of the end of 2010, strictly observing the requirements under national legislation and international standards on human rights.
It is urgent to re-establish an equitable dialogue between the non-political civil society sector and the authorities of the Republic of Belarus. This could be done within the framework of the profiled Council under the Administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus, or under another platform, which may include the participation of Russian colleagues. The necessary conditions for such dialogue can include: non-interference in the legitimate activities of NGOs; the return of confiscated office equipment; transparent investigation into abuse of power by those who responsible for the detention of civilians; decriminalization of participation in the activities of unregistered NGOs, and facilitation of the procedures for registration of NGOs; development of a National Action Plan for Human Rights, and; effective measures to protect human rights defenders and support of their activities.
We, the members of the Presidential Council for the Promotion of Civil Society and Human Rights, supporting the work of the International Committee of International Control for the situation with respect to human rights in Belarus, including the International Observation Mission of NGOs, are dedicated to work and contribute towards the strengthening of relations between civic institutions in both countries, and the solidarity of our citizens.
Svetlana Aivazova, Lyudmila Alekseeva, Lev Ambinder, Alexander Auzan Svetlana Gannushkina, Valentin Gefter, Alexei Golovan, Yuri Dzhibladze, Kirill Kabanov, Sergei Karaganov, Sergei Krivenko, Ida Kuklina, Fyodor Lukyanov, Tamara Morshchakova, Dmitry Oreshkin, Elena Panfilova, Mara Polyakova, Boris Pustyntsev, Alexei Pushkov, Alexei Simonov, Svetlana Sorokina, Sergei Tsyplenkov, Gary Chmykhov, Igor Jurgens, Irina Yassina.