On November 13, 2018, the internal affairs department of the Maskoŭski district administration of Minsk ordered the deportation of Hanna Krasulina, a citizen of the Russian Federation and a spokesperson for the United Civil Party of Belarus, with a view to preserve public order through voluntary departure for the period of one year.
As the official Interior Ministry documents and comments by head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior Aliaksei Biahun suggest, the decision to expel Ms. Krasulina was taken due to the fact that she was twice, in 2016 and 2017, brought to administrative responsibility under article 23.34 of the Administrative Code for participating in unauthorized peaceful assemblies. It is these actions by Ms. Krasulina that, according to representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, posed danger to the public. According to the decision, Ms. Krasulina was ordered to leave the country before November 30.
Photo from Anna's Facebook page
On November 28, Ms. Krasulina appealed the order to the city department of internal affairs of the Minsk city executive committee, but as early as on November 30 she was notified that the appealed was dismissed and the expulsion decision was upheld. The latter decision has been appealed to the court of the Maskoŭski district of Minsk.
Recognizing the sovereign right of the Republic of Belarus to limit the entry and stay in its territory of foreign citizens in the interest of the national security of the Republic of Belarus, public order, protection of morality, health, rights and freedoms of citizens of Belarus, we, representatives of human rights organizations in Belarus, note the following:
The expulsion of the citizen of the Russian Federation Hanna Krasulina for her administrative convictions of participating in unauthorized assemblies is manifestly disproportionate and constitutes an excessive measure related to the exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. The exercise of these freedoms is fully guaranteed by international laws to foreign citizens residing and temporarily staying in the country. It should also be noted that freedom of peaceful assembly should not be subject to any restrictions other than prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society, for the sake of national security, public order, morality, health and rights of other citizens.
We believe that the administrative prosecution of Ms. Krasulina for participating in a peaceful assembly is a disproportionate measure infringing her rights, as this expression of opinion is in no way subject to permissible restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly set out in art. 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Thus, references by representatives of the Ministry of the Interior to objectives of protecting public security as grounds for the expulsion of Ms. Krasulina are unfounded, since the exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression cannot a priori pose a danger to the public and disrupt public order.
As noted in para. 22 of the Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, “the expression “public order (ordre public)" as used in the Covenant may be defined as the sum of rules which ensure the functioning of society or the set of fundamental principles on which society is founded. Respect for human rights is part of public order (ordre public).”
In addition, when making a decision to expel Ms. Krasulina, the Ministry of the Interior should have taken into account the fact that she has resided in Belarus since 2002, has permanent family and social ties, as well as elderly parents in the country of residence. She also possesses means to meet her living expenditures and owns certain property.
Considering all these circumstances, we have reasons to believe that the government’s actions to expel Ms. Krasulina are politically motivated and aimed at impeding the implementation of her civil and political activities, and constitute one of the forms of harassment in connection with such activities.
In this regard, we urge the Belarusian authorities to reverse all the earlier decisions ordering the expulsion of Hanna Krasulina from the territory of Belarus and immediately stop the deportation procedure.
Belarusian Documentation Center
Assembly of NGOs
Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Office on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Belarusian Association of Journalists
Civil initiative against lawlessness in the courts and prosecutor's offices
Human Rights Center "Viasna"
Committee of the Repressed "Solidarity"