Minsk - June 11, 2020
We note the continuing crackdown on activists, civil society organizations and ordinary citizens in May 2020, despite calls from the country’s human rights community, international organizations and UN experts.
For the first time in the history of independent Belarus, the election has been held in an atmosphere of fear, threats and intimidation, and against the background of detentions and arrests of activists of presidential nomination groups and ordinary voters participating in peaceful signature-collecting pickets. Siarhei Tsikhanouski, who was going to run for the presidency, and a number of other citizens continue to be prosecuted in a politically motivated criminal case, in which the authorities resorted to open provocation.
On June 11, presidential nominee Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya announced a suspension of her activities to collect signatures in the next few days for fear of continuing repression against signature collectors.
On the same day, financial police searched the head office of Belgazprombank, whose former CEO Viktar Babaryka is also running for president. We view these actions as pressure on one of the presidential nominees.
These events are not consistent with fair and democratic elections. It will be recalled that in accordance with the OSCE Copenhagen Document, the Republic of Belarus, as a member state of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, declared that the “will of the people, freely and fairly expressed through periodic and genuine elections, is the basis of the authority and legitimacy of all government.” It also undertook to “respect the right of their citizens to take part in the governing of their country, either directly or through representatives freely chosen by them through fair electoral processes.”
We call on the Belarusian authorities to:
ensure the full exercise of fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Copenhagen Document and other international human rights instruments, including the right to freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to be elected in free elections, the right not to be subjected to arbitrary detention, and to stop pressure and intimidation of citizens in connection with their participation in the election.
Human Rights Center "Viasna"
Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Belarusian Documentation Center
Center for Legal Transformation “Lawtrend”
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House