International organizations encourage participant countries to boycott the Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk.
The leader of a Swedish human rights organization Östgruppen Martin Uggla stated that when commenting for charter97.org on the refusal of the IIHF to remove the World Championship from Belarus.
“Of course, it was a disappointment for me. The decision was absolutely incorrect, although I did not rule out such an option. This leads to the Belarusian authorities to very actively use the championship for promoting their political interests. The worst thing is that the International Ice Hockey Federation has not understood the consequences of its decision. Its leadership says that it does not want to get involved in politics, but in the end in turns out that the Ice Hockey World Championship-2012 will be a part of Lukashenka’s PR campaign. I already can see the Belarusian ruler personally handing out the medals and showing himself in a positive light”, - the human rights activist emphasized.
He believes that in this case parallels may be drawn with the Olympics-1936 in Nazi Germany.
“The scale is, of course, different, but the Belarusian regime also uses sports for political purposes. It is clear, that it is no longer possible to achieve the removal of the championship, but we will continue the work, since it is very important to support the issue of human rights observance in Belarus. We will do everything possible for this decision to have the least negative consequences”, - Martin Uggla stated.
We would remind that our country received the right to host the world championship in 2009. It is scheduled for 9-25 May in Minsk- Arena and Chyzouka-Arena
Because of human rights violations on the part of Belarusian authorities and the presence of political prisoners in captivity human rights activists and international organizations come out against holding a hockey world championship in Minsk in 2014. The idea of relocating the tournament was supported by many European and American politicians. Some countries threatened to boycott the championship in case it takes place in Minsk, because of repressions carried out by Belarusian authorities.