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Belarus in Focus 2011

26 Oct

Anna Zemblicka, BRIGHT magazine (Latvia)

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Violations of Human Rights in Europe’s Last Dictatorship

Lukashenko – caring father for his nation

Belarushas been held hostage by its president Aleksandr Lukashenko for more than 16 years. Since 1994 when Lukashenko was elected for the first time, the Belarusian government has been an authoritarian one. The situation inBelarusresembles weird family relations – Lukashenko as the caring father keeps an eye on all of his children, striving to protect them from the “evil world”. In the reality his kindness is illusionary - when his children are naughty, he punishes them without any doubt.

After president’s reelection violation increases

After the presidential elections on December 20, 2010, it appears that “the children” have been very disobedient. The cases of repression and harassment and the numbers of prosecutions have increased to a great extent.

One of the most striking examples depicting the violations of human rights inBelarusis the treatment of Aleh Gulak, Chair of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. On December 19, 2010, while observing the opposition rally, he was arrested and brought to a temporary detention facility. There, he was forced to spend three hours standing with his face to a wall. Although soon after he was released, the violations continued through preventing his free access to information.

As an observer of Belarusian political affairs, Gulak was easily released from the epicenter of trouble, while other opponents of the regime were injured and needed medical aid.

There were ten candidates as well as Lukashenko campaigning for election to the chair of the president ofBelarus. Seven of them were badly injured by the riot police during an anti - Lukashenko demonstration on December 19, 2010. Instead of receiving immediate medical aid, they were dragged from the hospital bed directly to KGB prison.

The lawyer of Vladimir Neklyaev, one of the accused candidates, visiting Neklyaev stated: “He could hardly walk and looked a terrible sight. His leg was injured – either badly bruised or dislocated – and he was not receiving proper medical attention.”

Foreigners also victims of Belarusian regime

Belarusians are not the only ones whose rights were violated by authorities after presidential elections; several foreign citizens have experienced “exclusive care” regarding their activities in the country as well.

Belarushas put two Russians on trial, Artyom Breus and Ivan Gaponov, for taking part in street protests during the re - election of President Alexander Lukashenko on December 20, 2010. In spite ofMoscow’s call for their release, there is a high probability they will be sentenced to up to eight years in prison.

Prisoners treated worser than dogs

It’s not enough that opponents are not able to express their vision of the further development of the country and point to several possible changes; they do not even receive a normal, adequate treatment while in custody and their human rights are ignored to a great extent by restricting their use of lawyers’ services.

A number of lawyers have already faced threats of losing their bar license if defend disobedient people – betrayers of the country.

The Belarusian Human Rights House says, “Counsellor Tamara Harayeva, who had willingly signed the agreement and pledged to protect journalist I.Khalip, declined in any way to explain what caused her to abandon previous obligations terminating the contract.” It makes one think that Belarusian authorities do not respect the legitimate work of the court. Subjective opinions and their own will is the highest judge for them.

Besides that, people put in prisons for opposing the regime, are very often maltreated. Dzmitry Bulanau, a defendant of “mass riots”, had a relapse of rheumatism, throat inflammation, heart, kidneys and joints’ complications due to the incarceration conditions in the prison. Another opponent Vladimir Neklyaev was put in a cell designated for three people but there were four of them, and he was forced to sleep on a sheet of wood on the floor.

The cases examined here prove that Belarusian authorities are not ready to recognize the value of the human rights yet. The conditions of people living in this eastern European country resemble a cage of penned animals which are not able to find the exit from the storm of violations and breaches of their rights. The conclusion is simple - under the current regime nothing will change at all. 


BRIGHT magazine


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