FIDH Vice-President and President of Human Rights Center Viasna was issued a warning for his human rights activities

18/02/2011
Press release
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Paris, February 18 – On Wednesday February 16, the Public Prosecutor’s office issued a warning to Aliaksandr Bialatski, FIDH Vice-President and President of Human Rights Center Viasna for conducting activities through a non-registered organisation.

On February 14, 2011, Mr. Bialiatski was summoned by phone to the office of the Public Prosecutor [1].On February 16, at the office of the Public Prosecutor, he received a written warning stating that the activities of Human Rights Center Viasna were illegal since the organisation was not registered with the Ministry of Justice. The warning further stipulated that proceedings could follow. Indeed, article 193.1 of the Belarusian Criminal Code allows criminal proceedings to be launched against individuals acting through a non-registered organisation.

FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen declared that “ FIDH strongly condemns the warning and will closely follow the situation. It would be extremely alarming if proceedings were launched.”

Since the elections, there has been a sharp boost in the wave of politically motivated repressions and human rights violations. Political parties, civil society and independent media are targeted. The number of political prisoners in the country reached a record for the period of 16 years of the reign of Aliaksandr Lukashenka and the list of prisoners is not yet final. In addition, dozens of human rights defenders, journalists and civic activists were searched and interrogated, and the offices of a number of independent NGOs and mass media were raided and searched.

FIDH recalls that the Human Rights Center Viasna applied for registration several times since 2003. The Belarusian Supreme Court denied its registration request for the last time on August 12, 2009, thereby contravening a July 2007 United Nations Human Rights Committee decision, which stipulated that the dissolution of Viasna violated Article 22.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and that the co-authors of the complaint were “entitled to an appropriate remedy, including the re-registration of Viasna”.

FIDH therefore urges the Belarusian authorities :

- to refrain from launching proceedings against Aliaksandr Bialiatski
- to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against the members of Viasna and all human rights defenders in Belarus;
- to officially register the human rights organisation Viasna;
- to suppress Article 193.1 of the Belarusian Criminal Code.

[1] See the urgent appeal of the Observatory for the protection of human rights defenders (FIDH and OMCT programme), http://www.fidh.org/FIDH-Vice-President-and-President-of-Human-Rights,8737

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