Human Rights Watch is deeply saddened by the passing of Aleh Hulak, chair of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC) and a longtime leader of the Belarus human rights movement. Hulak, 55, led the Helsinki Committee with courage and unwavering commitment, including through the country’s recent, vicious crackdown on rights and the entrenchment of President Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s autocracy.
The BHC, one of the country’s oldest human rights groups, has a broad mandate to advance civil and political, and social and economic rights. Hulak was a strong voice for free speech and the release of political prisoners and also for fair work conditions, and upholding human rights in business, trade union operations and health care.
The Belarusian government liquidated the BHC in 2021, along with hundreds of other independent groups. Hulak for years had pursued, against all odds, the group’s accreditation at the United Nations Economic and Social Council. In a bittersweet victory, his efforts succeeded less than two months ago.
We honor Aleh Hulak’s contributions to the human rights movement in Belarus and extend our condolences to his family.