On October 18, 2022, the Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross Society (BORC), doctor Dzmitry Shautsou, spoke on the STV channel about gender identity and sexual orientation. His comment contained discriminatory and stigmatizing theses, in particular, that "non-traditional relationships between the sexes" are a "mental illness" that "needs to be treated."
This is, first of all, the dissemination of false information. WHO removed homosexuality from the list of diseases back in 1990. In addition, this is a clear discrimination against vulnerable groups and LGBTQ+ people. The above is also a vivid example of the systemic discriminatory rhetoric of the Belarusian state.
Seeing this, and also understanding the discrepancy between the behavior of the Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross and the principles of the organization - humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, the experts of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Belarusian Medical Solidarity Foundation formulated and sent letters to various Red Cross institutions.
Appeals were sent to the Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross Society (BRCS), the Head of the Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Republic of Belarus, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, as well as the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In the letters, special emphasis was placed on the need for the Red Cross to adhere to both the founding documents of the organization and its mission, and international human rights documents. Human rights activists also called for public condemnation of Dzmitry Shautsou's statements and point out the inadmissibility of such discriminatory statements at any level in the future.
We expect that these appeals will draw the attention of the international community to the high level of discrimination in the Republic of Belarus and will contribute to the prevention of such situations.