Östgruppen, together with civil society colleagues at the house of Solidarity in Stockholm, wishes to congratulate our dear friends at the Belarusian Human Rights Center Viasna today, on the organization’s 27th anniversary.
We know how hard You have been working to support victims of repression, document human rights abuses and advocate human rights in Belarus during these 27 years. And the hard work continues in these very difficult times.
Meanwhile You have been, and continue to be, major targets of the repression yourselves. Six of You are currently jailed, convicted on bogus charges for defending the rights of your fellow belarusians. And the conditions You and the now close to 1500 other political prisoners your organization under difficult circumstances have managed to record are intentionally made inhumane.
For many more of You it has been necessary to leave Belarus to avoid the same destiny. Together with hundreds of thousands of other Belarusians of all ages under risk of facing criminal charges for having exercised the freedom of expression and assembly guaranteed by the constitution, You are now in forced exile.
We call for the immediate release of Ales Bialiatski, Marfa Rabkova, Valiantsin Stefanovich, Uladzimir Labkovich, Leanid Sudalenka and Andrei Chapiuk, and all other political prisoners in Belarus! And we demand an end to the brutal repression of ordinary belarusians!
Our thoughts are with You and the struggle to get your colleagues free and make the illegitimate regime responsible for these crimes accountable continues.
Let us also remember that the acute human rights crisis in Belarus is the response of a desperate athoritarian regime unable to deal with a population increasingly demanding respect for their rights. The escalating repression has put that struggle on hold, but it is in no way over.
Happy anniversary Viasna! May the force be with You!
For those of You reading this post wishing to support Viasna in some way, we suggest You to to do one of the following:
▪️ Send a postcard or letter of solidarity to the imprisoned human rights defenders of Viasna, including online
▪️ Write congratulations on the virtual board
▪️ Dedicate a poem, picture or other pieces of artistic work to ”Viasna”, send it to [email protected], and post it on social networks with the hashtag #FreeViasna
▪️ Invent and implement your own way of support!