About 20 persons have taken part in the Day of Solidarity with the civil society in Belarus held on August 4 in Saint Petersburg.
Among its participants, as charter97.org has learnt, there were citizens of Russia and Belarus, human rights activists and students. The organisers of the event were activists of the International Youth Human Rights Movement.
The anchor of the event Roman Boyarkov, a reader in applied political science of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, a participant of the International Human Rights Movement, told about the background of the Solidarity Day. He reminded that on that day, August 4, 2011, the head of the human rights organisation “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski was thrown behind the bars. Though the human rights activist was recently released, the situation with human rights in Belarus remains critical.
Valeryja Sauchankava, a human rights activist from Belarus, has told in detail about the situation with human rights in her country. As said by her, fundamental human rights are violated in the country: the right for life, meetings and assembly, freedom of association, receiving and dissemination of information and many others. Non-governmental organisations are deprived of an opportunity to carry out legal activities. To the present time 7 political prisoners are staying behind the bars, participants of unsanctioned rallies are tortured. The organisers have shown an appeal of Ales Bialiatski, as well as several video clips about human rights violation in Belarus, dedicated to the Ice Hockey World Championship in May.
Analyzing the situation of the civil society in Belarus, many participants of the meeting noticed the similarity to the situation in Russia. A surge of attack against human rights is taking place there as well: meetings and gatherings are being banned; independent mass media, NGOs undergo harsh harassment; attacks against human rights activists are taking place again. There are political prisoners in Russia, in the same way as in Belarus. “Russia is on the verge of a full-scale war, and all those who demand respect to their rights, and those who defend them, could be equaled to traitors of the nation and the country. The current policy of the leadership of Russia is a vivid confirmation of that. It is not by chance that Putin called “informational and communicational technologies”, as well as NGOs among the threat sources for Russia,” said the representative of one of Petersburg’s human rights organisations Igor Stankevich.
“When I was listening the stories about the situation in Belarus, I thought it would never concern us. But when our organisation’s activities were suspended by a decision of the court last year (for the denial to follow the illegal demand of the prosecutor’s office – to submit all the documents about the activities of the organisation), I realized that Belarus has come to Russia. The situation is getting worse with every day. Now I am even more attentive to the experience of Belarus. I understand that the things which happened in Belarus several years ago, are our tomorrow, or even our today.” Rima Sharifullina, President of one of the well-known human rights organisations in Petersburg, “Petersburg’s Aegis”, shares her impressions.
The information about the situation in Belarus was shocking for many participants. Everyone said that human rights activists should share their experience more often, in order to defend the rights of citizens more effectively.
The meeting ended in making a collective picture against the background of the logo of the Day of Solidarity. There were words of the classic of the Belarusian literature, Uladzimir Karatkevich: “It is not a difficult task to walk along a paved way. It is much harder, but much more exact, to map a route yourself.”