Open letter to Lukashenko
Open Letter to President Alexander Lukashenko and General Prosecutor of Belarus Ryhor Vasilevich
Stockholm, 22 February 2011
We have been informed that Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Centre Viasna, received an official warning on February 16 for allegedly breaching article 193.1 of the Criminal Code of Belarus concerning activities within an unregistered organisation. He was notified that continued human rights activities could lead to criminal prosecution.
We consider this warning to be an unacceptable measure aiming to silence Ales Bialiatski, Human Rights Centre Viasna and other human rights defenders in Belarus.
Human Rights Centre Viasna was dissolved by the Supreme Court of Belarus in 2003 and has repeatedly tried to re-register without results, this despite a decision of the UN Human Rights Committee in 2007 which declared the dissolution of Human Rights Centre Viasna a violation of article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Having this in mind, the warning constitutes an attack on the right to freedom of association, as guaranteed by the Belarus Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Civil Rights Defenders urges the authorities of Belarus to repeal the warning against Ales Bialiatski. We furthermore urge the authorities to refrain from pressure on human rights defenders and end harassment of human rights defenders, and instead to take appropriate measures to ensure that human rights defenders can conduct their activities freely without interference from authorities.
Executive Director, Civil Rights Defenders
Tags: Aleksander Lukashenka, Ales Bialiatski, Freedom of association, and Viasna.