4 August: International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus
NGOs from different countries of the world announced the International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus. It will be held on 4 August, on the second anniversary of the arrest of a well-known Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski.
The action is created as a demonstration of solidarity with civil society of Belarus and of moral support to human rights defenders and activists, who continue their work in the country, dubbed “Europe’s last dictatorship.”
“We will observe this day every year, until the situation of civil society in Belarus changes: until its authorities put an end to imprisoning people for human rights activities, until there is a guarantee of fundamental human rights: freedom of expression, assembly and association,” the Solidarity Day Manifesto goes.
Last year, actions dedicated to the International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus were held in 18 countries of the world. This year the organisers call on people around the globe to send letters of support to Belarusian political prisoners and human rights defenders, to publish articles and hold events about the situation in Belarus. A detailed list of possible actions within the framework of the Solidarity Day can be found here.
The organisers suggest telling “people from different countries about what is happening in Belarus and about those, who are doing their best to offer alternatives such as Belarus without death penalty, without unlawful arrests and militarised consciousness; Belarus that is open to the outside world with a wide open space for freedom and solidarity.”
“We are convinced that the situation in Belarus is significant not only for Europe and Central Asia, but also for many other countries, where activists are being harassed with impunity by the authorities,” say Solidarity Day organisers.
Ales Bialiatski, a Peace Nobel Prize nominee and a leader of Human Rights Centre Viasna, was arrested 4 August 2011, and currently serving a four-and-a-half year prison sentence for alleged tax evasion. The income on which he was found guilty of not paying taxes had in fact been used to support victims of human rights violations in Belarus.
According to Belarusian human rights defenders, there are currently 12 political prisoners in Belarus. The country is also criticised for failing to have free and fair elections and serious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens.
The international organising committee of the Day include Committee of International Control over the situation with human rights in Belarus; Centre for Civil Liberties (Ukraine); Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland), Moscow Helsinki group (Russia); International Youth Human Rights Movement; Index on Censorship (United Kingdom) and Belarusian Human Rights House in exile (Lithuania).
To get in touch with the organisers of the International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus email: firstname.lastname@example.org