Ales Bialiatski, 2020 Right Livelihood Laureate. Credit: Stina Stjernkvist

Belarus must release Ales Bialiatski and other Viasna members detained today

News 14.07.2021

Right Livelihood condemns in the strongest terms the current crackdown on human rights organisations in Belarus and the arbitrary detention of members of Human Rights Center “Viasna,” including its Chairman Ales Bialiatski.

On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, a day after the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution expressing deep concern at the unprecedented human rights violations in Belarus, the authorities intensified their repression on independent civil society organisations and human rights activists.

Searches at the homes of civil society leaders and at the offices of a dozen major human rights organisations have been conducted across the country since the early hours of Wednesday. Law enforcement agents arbitrarily arrested human rights defenders. According to the information reported, eight staff of Viasna, including its Chairman Ales Bialiatski, are currently detained for interrogation. Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapiuk, Leanid Sudalenka, and Tatsiana Lasitsa, also members of Viasna, remain under arbitrary arrest. We reiterate our demands for their immediate release. 

Viasna has been playing a leading role in advocating for democracy and rule of law in Belarus and has worked tirelessly for 25 years to shed light on the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Belarusian regime. Its work has been crucial to documenting the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters before and after the fraudulent election of August 2020. 

Right Livelihood condemns in the strongest terms the recent events and demands the immediate release of all human rights defenders and journalists arbitrarily detained. The international community must raise its voice, guarantee their safety and act before civil society in Belarus is entirely wiped out. 

We stand in solidarity with our friend Ales Bialiatski and everyone at Viasna as they face this unrelenting repression, and we stand by all the Belarusian people as they keep bravely fighting for democracy and human rights in the face of such a brutal regime.

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