Statement of the “RADA” in relation to the presidential elections 2020 in Belarus
We, the union of twenty seven 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”, make the following statement:
Being a part of a democratic civil society, true member of the European family of youth organizations, strong supporters of norms and principles of international law, peaceful defenders of the fundamental rights and freedoms of youth in Belarus, we have been following the development of the presidential elections campaign 2020 since its beginning and take all legal actions to prevent and stop violations of human rights, electoral rights, release of political prisoners and information manipulation (see Statement of May 13, Statement of June 25).
Since more than 1,300 people have been brutally detained for participation in peaceful protests by the Belarusian police and people in civilian clothes (without identification marks, uniforms), most of whom are young people, and more than 200 of them were punished with administrative arrests, counting from May 2020, and given the high involvement of youth in the ongoing processes, we voice the position of the Belarusian youth on the current election campaign:
We are extremely saddened by the continuing facts of arbitrary and disproportionate use of force by employees of the internal affairs bodies against participants of peaceful actions. The recent cases of Slutsk and Saligorsk are particularly revealing. In the same negative vein, we perceive provocative preventive detentions of people who actively express their civil position and show solidarity with the detainees.
We hope that authorities realize as soon as possible that they themselves are increasing the level of aggression and provoking people to reaction that will have unpredictable consequences for all involved in the process. We remind you that government officials are not obliged to comply with knowingly criminal orders and instructions: you can always refuse to comply with them and demand these instructions in writing in order to protect yourself in the future and not become a criminal.
We are outraged and disagree with the unfair decisions of the courts over the participants of peaceful actions and convictions, when the protocols and testimonies of the accusing party are repeated as if they were a carbon copy, contain inaccuracies pointed out by the accused who are not allowed to use all available legal methods for their own defense.
We are greatly puzzled by decisions of the Central Election Commission, whose mission is to hold elections on the principle of maximum inclusion and full transparency, to limit the number of observers at polling stations. Given the absence of international observers due to the epidemiological situation, it is the complete openness of the voting and counting process with access of all observers that can restore at least minimal trust and legitimacy to the process. Instead, we see how some observers are reported to the police, expelled from polling stations, and in some cases deregistered and arrested.
We are very concerned about the lack of objective and the presence of deliberately false information in the state media about all kinds of phenomena of public life in the country, the personal data of detained activists and presidential candidates. Only accusatory statements against alternative political powers and participants of peaceful assemblies are heard from the state media, and their events are not covered at all or are presented in a biased manner. We remind the journalists of the state media about journalistic ethics, and also that the decision on the guilt of a particular citizen can be made only by an independent court.
And extreme outraged that we feel is caused by a number of arguments connected with readiness of external forces to interfere in the internal affairs of Belarus, as well as a call to President of Russian Federation to “support free presidential elections in Belarus and condemn the anti-popular and anti-Russian policy pursued by the Belarusian regime, arouse an extreme degree of indignation.” There are no examples in history when external interventions led to the solution of internal problems of states, but there are 100% opposite, when such actions only exacerbated the situation, led to the division of the state and gave rise to open armed confrontations. No price promised for outside intervention can cover the loss of a country’s independence.
In this regard, we, the youth of Belarus, demand from:
- Police to immediately stop using violence against participants in peaceful assemblies.
- State bodies to immediately release all detained in peaceful protests for political reasons.
- All government officials and employees to remember their duty to serve the Belarusian people and respect the law.
- State courts to restore the principles of the rule of law and equality of all before the law.
- State officials to ensure the implementation of all rights on the territory of the country in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
- The Central Election Commission to provide access to all observers without additional conditions or restrictions to polling stations, including the stage of counting votes.
- Journalists and politicians to be honest and open when disseminating information and provide an opportunity to express their position to all parties involved when covering events.
- Official representatives of democratic states and international institutions to remind authorities of the Republic of Belarus that human rights are not an internal matter and about responsibility for violations of human rights in accordance with international criminal law and universal jurisdiction.
- All political forces in the country to stop manipulating with and bargaining of independence of Belarus.
Only we, Belarusians, are the masters of the country, and only we, the people, have all the power in the state, regardless of age and other criteria.