International Solidarity Day with Belarus
Oslo, Norway, 7 February 2021
Maria Dahle, Director, Human Rights House Foundation
I am here on behalf of the Human Rights Houses and it is such an honor to be here with you today.
Last year, in late July, we were also standing here together – ahead of the election day in Belarus. We talked about what may happen. We did fear persecution. We did fear use of violence. But we did not know what was coming for the Belarusians. Today, we know more, we have the facts.
6 months of peaceful protest – 6 months of horrific abuses.
More than 30 000 people detained, thousands tortured and ill-treated in detention,
more than 200 political prisoners. In total, Belarusian journalists have spent more than 1200 days in jail.
One month into the new year, we see the tendency: The repression is now more strategic and targeted. The Belarusian authorities go after those who support and defend citizens and victims of abuse – and those who document and report on violations. They criminalise human rights defenders and journalists, who now face several years in prison for doing their legitimate work. Only last month, 1000 people working to defend human rights have faced various pressure.
Standing here today, we urge the Belarusian authorities to
- Stop the violence and torture against citizens
- Respect people’s right to peaceful assembly
- Respect the legitimate work of human rights defenders and journalists
- Release all political prisoners, including the 11 journalists behind bars –
- and we mention here Leanid Sudalenko, Tatsiana Lasitsa, Marfa Rabkova and Andrei Chapciuk from HR Centre Viasna – all of them arrested for their legitimate human rights work.
Standing here today, we thank the Norwegian authorities for their clear and strong support to the Belarusians´ call for freedoms
- We ask Norway to take a lead in establishing an international investigative mechanism in order to hold the perpetrators accountable for the severe human rights violations in Belarus.
Standing here today, we address the Norwegian business company Yara having strong business relations with Belaruskali with the following
- We appreciate your stands for basic human rights. We ask Yara to keep high pressure on your business partners to ensure respect for workers’ rights and refrain from repression of their employees.
Last, but not the least: To all Belarusians – we are standing here in solidarity with you today. We want you to know that you are not alone.
We will continue to support you. You amaze us, you inspire us – by your courage, your resilience, your stamina, your creativity and your peaceful protest.
We stand with you in your call for freedoms and justice!
Free Belarus! Free Belarus! Free Belarus!