Statement BNYC “RADA” in connection with the restriction of the right to freedom of movement
We, the union of thirty five democratic youth organizations and initiatives of Belarus, were created to consolidate Belarusian youth organizations and civil society initiatives to represent, promote, and protect common interests, realizing the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and other constitutional rights, represented by the governing body – the Board of “RADA” we make the following statement.
On April 18, 2023, deputies of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus adopted a draft law in the second reading, according to which the KGB was given the right to prohibit the departure of individuals from the country “in the interests of national security.”
This expansion of the KGB’s powers is profoundly troubling and disproportionately restricts the right to freedom of movement. At the same time, there is no information regarding the criteria for which citizens will be restricted and on what grounds. Given the KGB’s practice of repression against civil society, we are confident that this mechanism will be used for repressive purposes.
We also note that such a restriction violates the right of Belarusians to freedom of movement, guaranteed by Article 30 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. This decision, in our opinion, is another way of oppressing and intimidating Belarusians and an attempt to keep young men in the country – potential conscripts whom Lukashenka can use to support Russian aggression in Ukraine.
It should be noted separately that the opportunity to leave the country for education, work, and travel is crucial for the development of young people. We are sure that the youth of Belarus deserve the right to freedom of movement for education, work, and travel, and we will continue to fight for their rights and freedoms.
In this regard, we:
- We strongly condemn the adoption of this bill.
- We call on international stakeholders, including the European Union and the United Nations, to condemn this bill and pressure the Belarusian government to lift the imposed restrictions.
- We call on the international community to support the youth of Belarus and put pressure on the government to force it to respect human rights and the rule of law.
- We call on the European Union to continue its efforts to support democracy and human rights in Belarus, including by providing financial and technical assistance to civil society and independent media.