EWC Statement on Belarus: we urge the governments of the European Union not to stand by in silence

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Posted on August 17, 2020, 5:30 pm
7 mins

The European Writers’ Council vehemently condemns the massive violations of free speech and human rights in Belarus

The European Writers’ Council is highly concerned about the violent and systematic oppression of peaceful protests against the official results of the presidential elections and against the autocratic President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. 

The EWC fully supports the appeal of its member organisation, the Union of Belarusian Writers (UBW), for solidarity, freedom of expression and transparent and democratic new elections.

Brussels, 17 August 2020  The European Writers’ Council and its Board are deeply alarmed by the current events in Belarus after presidential elections tainted by suspicions of massive manipulation. Belarus is undergoing a terrible wave of repression and indiscriminate attacks on peaceful demonstrators protesting against police abuse and demanding the release of all unjustly held prisoners, the organisation of transparent and democratic new elections and the safeguarding of human rights and freedom of speech. Journalists and bloggers are being threatened, attacked and arrested; news websites have been blocked, and free access to information is being suppressed.

“We are in a continuous contact with our EWC member, The Union of Belarusian Writers, and the news we are receiving is deeply disturbing and depressing,” says EWC President, Nina George. “Our independent sources have sent us reports of brutal police violence in the streets and of even worse abuse in prisons, including psychological torture, indiscriminate beatings and rape. This violence is directed against all those Belarusians who are exercising their rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and demanding the implementation of truly democratic principles in their country. We urge the governments of the European Union not to stand by in silence, but to bring strong pressure to bear on the autocratic regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka [Alexander Lukashenko], to put an end to this violence and uphold the values on which the European Union is based,” George urges.

The EWC strongly supports the attached call for solidarity with Belarus, released by its Belarusian member association UBW, a writers’ association firmly committed to the principles of the UN Charter on Human Rights. The EWC implores writers, journalists and citizens of Europe to spread the attached appeal from the UBW and its report on the outrageous ongoing events in Minsk. The EWC urges all organisations to raise their voices and call on their governments to act against these flagrant violations of human rights and democratic principles.

“Belarus is part of Europe. Do not leave the people of Belarus alone in their efforts to build up a truly democratic country. We must all use our most powerful democratic instrument: our words,” Nina George concludes.

On behalf of the Board of the European Writers’ Council: Myriam Diocaretz, Secretary-General

Download the EWC Statement

Download the Appeal and Voices from Belarus

 

The Union of Belarusian Writers appeals for international solidarity to stop violence directed against peaceful protesters and to hold free, fair and transparent new elections in Belarus.

 

An Appeal to Europeans and Citizens of the World: Please speak out about Belarus, write about the tragic situation here, and relay this appeal to the national leaders of your country with your demands for timely and effective political responses against the perpetrators of torture and election rigging in Belarus.

Minsk, Belarus – August 17, 2020

The Union of Belarusian Writers, invoking the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calls on all literary organizations, journalists and other cultural figures to express their solidarity with the people of Belarus.

At this critical moment for the Belarusian people, we ask you to help disseminate information about suspectedlarge-scale election falsification and the recent escalation in indiscriminate acts of violence against our country’s civilians. Youwill find more details in the attached appendix titled “Voices of Belarus”.

We urgently call on you to raise attention and contribute to the independent charitable projectBY_HELPthat is helping victims of these mass assaults. As ofAugust 14th, the initiative had already collected more than USD 2,000,000 in donations from around the world.

For its part, the Union of Belarusian Writers has already demanded that the Belarusian authorities immediately stop the violence against peaceful protesters, release all citizens arrested during the 2020 election campaign, reconstitute a credible Central Election Committee, and hold a free, fair and transparent election under international observation.

The Secretariat of the Union of Belarusian Writers, Minsk, 17 August 2020    

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About the Union of Belarusian Writers

We are a professional creative community of Belarusian writers. Our Union is based on the principles of freedom of speech and self-expression. We strive to protect authors’ rights and to develop, popularize, and promote Belarusian literature as an integral value for society that is essential to the existence of the Belarusian nation.  Founded in 1933-34, the Union of Belarusian Writers is the oldest creative organization in Belarus. Its members include, among others, the Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and the well-known writers Uladzimir Niakliaeu, Raisa Baravikova, Uladzimir Arlou, Anatol Viarcinskі and Ales Razanau.

For further information, please visit our webpage at lit-bel.org or contact us directly at ubw.office@gmail.com

To the Appeal

Download the Appeal and Voices from Belarus

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Since peaceful protests against a rigged election began in Belarus, the government has unleashed terrible violence against its own citizens, including children. The authorities have imprisoned demonstrators and are subjecting them to horrible conditions beyond comprehension.

These following reports and interviews document the arbitrary violence against citizens of Belarus. A summary of the political events can be found at the end of this collection of Voices from Belarus:

VOICES FROM BELARUS