Ales Bialiatski, a Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights who was lately released on amnesty, was received in Paris City Hall and the MFA of France.
“Three years have passed since Bialiatski's visit to Paris a month before his arrest. During the following years, FIDH members held pickets in different countries of the world and applied their best efforts to release him. The staff of the FIDH headquarters, members of the board, young activists, translators and all those engaged gathered for a long-awaited meeting,” Viasna human rights centre writes.
Ales Bialiatski received a diploma of Honorary Citizen of Paris on July 5. Former Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë granted this title to the Belarusian human rights defender in October 2012 and gave a symbolic award to Ales's son in December 2013 before his term of office expired.
At the award ceremony, Patrick Klugman, an advisor of the Paris mayor on international relations, praised Bialiatski's role as the head of the unregistered human rights centre Viasna and the Vice President of FIDH. He recalled that previous Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, wrote a letter to the political prisoner and the mayor of the 11th arrondissement of Paris installed a portrait of the human rights defender in front of the mayor’s office of the 11th arrondissement, where the FIDH headquarters is located.
Biliatski thanked the mayor's office and said the support to him both helped him and impressed the prison staff serving as a sort of a safe conduct. He also recalled that the first Belarusian to receive the title of Honorary Citizen of Paris was Vasil Seregin from Homel, who fought in the Normandie-Niemen Regiment on the Soviet-German front in 1943-1945.
“Like our parents were struggling against fascism together, we will struggle for human rights and democratic society,” Bialiatski said. He called on Paris officials to further support civil society in Belarus that continues to defend human rights.
After the award ceremony, Bialiatski was received by Patrizianna Sparacino-Thiellay, the French Ambassador at Large for Human Rights, and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France. Bialiatski said at the meeting that seven political prisoners still remained in jails in Belarus and called on the French MFA to apply further efforts to release them.
Archive photo by belapan.by