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International human rights groups demand release of Viasna members on first anniversary of crackdown

On the first anniversary of the unprecedented crackdown on the Human Rights Center Viasna ("Viasna") in Belarus, 23 international and Belarusian human rights organizations are launching a campaign to demand the release of seven detained Viasna members,…
In The Hague, Netherlands, on August 7, a demonstrator holds a placard showing the names of some of those arbitrarily detained in Belarus for protesting against President Alexander Lukashenko, and calling for their release.
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Belarusian Association of Journalists Continues its Work despite the Crackdown

On August 27, the Supreme Court of Belarus upheld the appeal by the Justice Ministry to strip the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) of its official registration. Formal “liquidation” of the prominent group, which has worked tirelessly for 25…
 The door of the Belarusian Association of Journalists main office in Minsk, Belarus on June 2021
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Solidarity and Support Needed for Independent Belarusian Voices

One year ago, the center of Minsk was teaming with people protesting stolen presidential elections and asserting their voices matter. On that first evening, the mood was festive: women in bright summer dresses, some wearing heels, as if on their way…
A woman wearing white stands in front of riot police during a Belarusian opposition rally protesting the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, September 13, 2020. 
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International Olympic Committee Should Adopt Human Rights Policy

On Sunday, Belarusian track and field athlete Krystsina Timanovskaya refused to let government authorities forcibly return her to Belarus from the Olympics, seeking instead protection at Tokyo’s international airport.  She has since reportedly…
A female athlete sprinting in a race
News

Forced Closure of Dozens of Human Rights Organizations

The Belarusian government is moving to close dozens of organizations that were the backbone of the country’s once vibrant civil society. These groups work on issues such as disability rights, the environment, media freedoms, pensioners’ rights,…
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during a cabinet meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, July 23, 2021, announcing a "purge" on civil society. 
News

Countrywide Searches, Detentions Also Target Journalists, Critics

(Berlin) – Belarusian authorities carried out a day of massive, unprecedented raids and detentions against the Belarus human rights community on July 14, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. Police in at least 10 cities searched homes and offices…
Belarusian riot police block the road to stop demonstrators during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus on November 15, 2020.
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Authorities’ Treatment of Tatiana Kouzina Highlights Efforts to Muzzle, Disempower Lawyers

On July 8, a court in Minsk ordered Tatiana Kouzina, a prominent Belarusian researcher and policy analyst, be held in pretrial custody for two months.   Security officials detained Kuzina at the Minsk airport on June 28, as she was going…
Tatiana Kouzina at a conference in 2019.
News

Thirteen Organisations Call for the Immediate and Unconditional Release

Index on Censorship and 12 other human rights, freedom of expression, media freedom, and journalists’ organisations unreservedly condemn the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of human rights defender and journalist Andrei Aliaksandrau, who is…
Riot police stand guard during demonstrations against police violence in Minsk, Belarus, September 6, 2020. 
News

Sports Governing Bodies Should Call for an End to Criminalizing Athlete Rights Defenders

(Nyon) — The Belarusian authorities should immediately drop all criminal charges against Aliaksandra Herasimenia and Aliaksandr Apeikin, chair and executive director of the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF), the Sport & Rights…
Protesters objecting to the flawed August presidential election and the government's brutality, in march along the Independence Prospect during the "March of Unity" rally in Minsk, Belarus on Sunday, Sep. 6, 2020, Belarus.© 2020 SIPA USA via AP
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News Comes in Wake of Forced Downing of Plane, Activists Arrest

With global condemnation still raging over the brazen forced downing of an airplane to detain journalist and activist Raman Pratasevich, it’s welcome news that German prosecutors may be looking to open a preliminary inquiry into other alleged serious…
Belarusian police block a street during  opposition rally
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Belarusian Independent Media and Civil Society Need International Support

Democratic governments and international organizations are this week expressing shock and outrage over the unlawful forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk, and the consequent arbitrary arrest of prominent Belarussian activist and journalist Raman…
Belarus Protest Arrest Roman Protesevich
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Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. 
News

Forcing Down Airliner to Detain Activist Is Latest Lawless Rights Violation

Belarusian authorities’ shocking action on Sunday to force down a Ryanair flight on false pretenses to enable them to detain activist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend, Sofya Sapega, was not just a violation of international law but a brutal…
Raman Pratasevich arrested 2021 Belarus Ryanair
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Searches, Arrests of Journalists and Blocking of TUT.BY Websites

This week Belarusian authorities took yet another step in their relentless campaign to stifle independent media. This time their target is TUT.BY, one of the country’s largest news outlets. On the morning of May 18, police searched TUT.BY’s offices…
Marina Zolotova take questions media after announcement
News

Parliament Should Reject the Bills, Guarantee Media Freedom

On April 2, Belarus’ parliament moved forward eight bills, including a raft of amendments to the country’s Mass Media Law and Mass Gatherings Law. If adopted, these amendments will further undermine freedom of speech and the work of independent…
Belarusian journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich, right, and Dr. Artsiom Sorokin attend a court hearing in Minsk, Belarus, 19 February, 2021.
News

Stop Prosecutions, Guarantee Freedom of Press

(Moscow) – Belarusian authorities have escalated repression against independent journalists in the past five months, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have arbitrarily detained and beaten journalists, imposed fines and prison sentences on…
Katsiaryna Barysevich, a journalist for the independent TUT.BY news website enters a court room during a trial in Minsk on 19 February, 2021.
News

Families of Arrested Reporters Tell Their Stories

On December 22, Aleksandra Slutskaya, an energetic young woman with piercing light blue eyes, landed in Minsk airport together with her two children and her 56-year-old mother, journalist Yuliya Slutskaya. After a vacation on a warm and sunny beach,…
Yulia Alsheuskaya looking through the window of her house outside of Minsk, which she shares with her husband Siarhei who is currently in detention, January 2021.
News
To Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council:  Excellency,  We, the undersigned associations and human rights organisations call on the Human Rights Council to create a new mechanism assisting…
Demonstrators carry a huge historical flag of Belarus as thousands gather for a protest at the Independence square in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 23, 2020.