Belarus back to 2006 again: Human rights defenders sounding alarm at HDIM OSCE

From the Case of Patriots to the Case of Labour Unions. As part of HDIM OSCE in Warsaw, dozens of experts discissed the human rights issue in Belarus.

Instability as keynote

The case is the both internal and external instability. Earlier, the domestic human rights situation deteriorated after spring protests against the so-called ‘parasite’ decree, now Minsk is undermining regional stability when staging the Zapad-2017 military exercise.

What is happening in the world, especially in our region due to Russia’s aggression, is drawing  people’s attention from the human rights situation, the organizers say. But one cannot turn a blind eye to the fundamental developments in society.

“If we focus only on security issues and forget, on what the free world, Europe, human rights are based, we will simply stop seeing our future,” said Uladzimir Kobets, Chairman of the Belarusian House in Warsaw.

Patriots’ case

It is not closed, 16 persons are defendants in the case. Moreover, the pressure is being exerted on lawyers who defended them in the KGB jail.

“We fear that some of the defense lawyers will not be attested. It is no joke, because arms were planted,” Syarhei Bulba (Chyslau) told

Step forward – two steps back

Belarus is backtracking to the situation of  2006, when there were political prisoners in the country, Ales Bialitski, Head of HRC Viasna, says. Recently, Ihar Komlik, an accountant of the Belarusian independent trade union, has been recognised political prisoner. Mikhail Zhamchuzhny and Dzmitry Paliyenka are also on the list.

Double standards are often used when assessing the human rights situation with in Belarus. And we may become another Azerbaijan in this respect: there are dozens of political prisoners, but taking into account the geopolitical situation, the EU continues contacting and dealing with Azerbaijan.

The 2017 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw will last until 22 September. Among others, the development of social control systems in Belarus is on the agenda. By the way, when the public expressed readiness to monitor Zapad-2017, Belarusian authorities waived the initiative.

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