Statement of the Belarusian National Youth Council “RADA” regarding violent detention of participants of peaceful protest actions
We, the union of twenty democratic youth organizations of Belarus, being created with the purpose of consolidating of youth organizations and initiatives of Belarus for representation, promotion and defending common interests, exercising right to freedoms of association and other constitutional rights, represented by the Governing Body – the Board of “RADA”, express our deep indignation and rejection of the recent repressive actions of the officials and law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Belarus related to the detentions and punishments of participants of numerous peaceful protest actions.
In recent weeks, mass peaceful protests of citizens have been going on around our country, connected with the notorious Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus №3 “On the Prevention of Social Dependence”. Only on March 15, 2017, according to the reports of human rights activists more than 50 participants of peaceful demonstrations were detained in Minsk and regional centers of Mogilev and Grodno. During the arrest the policemen were unmarked (wore civilian clothing), actively and unreasonably used brutal physical force and even tear gas. Among those who were detained and convicted, are the representatives of the member organization of “RADA”, “Ecohome”, Marina Dubina (she was sentenced to 14 days of imprisonment) and Ksenia Malyukova (she was sentenced to 13 days of imprisonment).
Article 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus says that “freedom of assembly, meetings, street processions, demonstrations and picketing that do not violate the rule of law and the rights of other citizens of the Republic Belarus, is guaranteed by the state”. Despite the provisions of the Constitution, which are the norms for direct action, mass arbitrary detentions of protesting citizens and public activists took place in the last week.
We call upon the international bodies and institutions to stand in solidarity with civil society in Belarus and call upon the Belarusian government to:
- Respect the rights and freedoms of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus;
- Immediately abandon all violent and repressive measures against participants of peaceful protests and release all those arrested and detained;
- Prevent further possible punishment of peaceful protests in schools or institutions and bodies in which they study or work;
- Stop further escalation of the conflict with the citizens and repeal Decree №3 as inconsistent with the constitutional rights of Belarusian citizens and Belarusian legislation;
- Stop destabilization of the situation in the country and establish the format for a dialogue with the protesters.
Chairperson of the Belarusian National Youth Council “RADA”