Volha Zalatar’s persecution comes amid massive post-election repression and a profound human rights crisis in the country. Recently, in order to combat dissent and protest activity of citizens, the authorities are increasingly resorting to the application of so-called anti-extremist legislation. The Belarusian human rights community has previously drawn attention to its flaws and incompatibility with international human rights standards. Now, after the Prosecutor General's Office of Belarus submitted amendments to the law, we note that the real purpose of these amendments is to combat dissent in the country in the worst traditions of the Soviet era.
Viewing local social chats as extremist, and their creators and moderators as creators of extremist organizations, the purpose of which is to “hold unauthorized gatherings in the form of tea parties, walks and concerts”, is an extremely dangerous trend and grossly encroaches on fundamental freedoms – freedom of peaceful assembly, expression and freedom of association. // 03.04.2021
We regard that as pressure and an attempt to discourage the activities of a human rights organisation. // 25.03.2021
We believe that this form of expression falls under the protection of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and has nothing to do with the charges. // 24.03.2021
We assess the persecution of Aliaksei Artsetski, Dzmitry Bunevich, Dzianis Ivanets, and Raman Sidziuk as politically motivated, as it is related solely to their exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression and recognize them as political prisoners. // 17.03.2021
We recall once again that freedom of expression is only subject to restrictions in strictly defined cases, while these restrictions must be proportionate. // 16.03.2021