US Department of State names Bialiatski the human rights activist of the year (photo)
18:27, — Politics
Today in Warsaw the wife of imprisoned human rights activist Alies Bialiatski has received the prestigious Human Rights Defenders Award on her husband’s behalf.
The US Department of States gives the award annually to major human rights activists from all over the world.
The reception dedicated to Alies Bialiatski was held in the US Embassy in Poland.
Representatives of the Belarusian civil society, human rights activists, Polish and American diplomats were among the guests: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, at the United States Department of State Thomas Melia; head of the department on Middle Asia and Caucasus of the Eastern Department of the Polish Foreign Ministry Piotr Iwaszkiewicz; chairman of the Solidarity Fund Krzysztof Stanowski; head of the Foundation Freedom and Democracy Tomasz Pisula; editor-in-chief of the website charter97.org Natallia Radzina; sister of former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and leader of the civil campaign Free Belarus Now Iryna Bagdanava; head of Andrei Sannikov’s electoral headquarters Uladzimir Kobiets; former political prisoner Aliaksandar Atroshchankau; co-directors of the Belarusian House in Warsaw Dzmitry Barodka and Alies Zarembiuk; director of Belsat TV Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy; head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zhanna Litvina; daughter of former political prisoner Dzmitry Bandarenka Yulia and others.
US Ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein who got to pass Alies Bialiatski’s award remarked that Washington has always been focused on democracy and human rights.
“Sunday was Marmot Day in Belarus. I can say in the OSCE diplomatic language that another “elections” have been neither free, nor fair. The regime lives on cynical manipulations and violent repressions, while Belarus is moving towards self-isolation. This direction was set in December 2010, when the people who dared to challenge the regime were thrown to prisons.
Alies Bialiatski has always been one of the most courageous fighters for freedom and human rights. He has been at the roots of the Belarusian democratic movement, and he founded the human rights center Viasna. Today he turned 50, and we pay tribute to his courage.”
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, at the United States Department of State Thomas Melia spoke during the ceremony:
”Alies returned to Belarus even though he knew he could be arrested. Only few people are ready to go to prison for their faith in freedom and human rights. I met Alies in Wroclaw where he was receiving the Freedom award. He told me then: “Belarus has always been a part of Europe. We cannot accept dictatorship in Belarus. Our organization is called Viasna. And this is the symbol of Belarus getting back to the European family.” The US Department of State representative emphasized that Hilary Clinton scrutinizes the events in Belarus. “Recently she has met with Natallia Radzina who is here today, and other Belarusian dissidents, and she knows about the situation with the Belarusian political prisoners,” Thomas Melia said.
Grzegorz Shetyna, the head of the Foreign Affairs commission of the Polish Sejm, was speaking at the ceremony, too:
“Today this award goes to Alies Bialatski who embodies fighters for freedom from different countries and on different continents.
When Alies was arrested, I swore that nobody would ever be arrested again because of a Polish official’s lack of responsibility or imagination. I also swore that the Polish Sejm and Senate will never forget Alies Bialiatski while he’s in prison.
Natallia Pinchuk is among us today. Her fight for the freedom of her husband is an example of courage for all of us. We wish her and her country the best. Long live Belarus!”
The US Ambassador also read the message from US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton where she pointed out: “Unfortunately, there were many nominees for this award. Lots of brave people are today imprisoned for their fight for human rights. But there are many others who fight for their freedom.
The USA welcomes those who fight for freedom and human rights despite persecutions from the powers. An attack on human rights is not just an attack against these courageous people. It is an attack against everything we believe in. Repressions against Alies are another example of the actions that hinder the Belarusian people from obtaining freedom and prosperity. But despotism doesn’t last forever. And we believe that the day will come when the people of Belarus can define their future themselves.”
Alies Bialiatski’s wife Natallia Pinchuk was grateful for the award. She said:
”It is a great honor and support, a high esteem of Alies’ strong principles in the fight for human rights. Brave people from all over the world have been awarded this prize. And my husband has deserved the right to be one of them. He knew what could happen with those who fight for freedom, but he didn’t give up.
Today Alies is in prison, which destroys his health, but what he’s done wasn’t in vain.
It is crucial for him to know that the USA supports human rights in Belarus. This award is the voice of America in support of Alies and all others who sacrifice their health, freedom and lives for the freedom of Belarus.
We know that the truth is ours!”
Write your comment (14)