Posts Tagged ‘Ales Bialiatski’

Human Rights Tulip makes public its 2015 Jury

September 10, 2015

Transparency in the composition of the jury of human rights awards is not always very high, so the announcement by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the composition of its 2105 Tulip jury is to be welcomed:

Ugandan Margaret Sekaggya is to chair the jury. She is a human rights lawyer who from 2008 until 2014 was UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Centre Uganda and sits on the Board of a number of NGOs, including True Heroes Films.

Ales Bialiatski is a distinguished human rights defender from Belarus and the founder of the Viasna Human Rights Center.

Nicola Jägers is a professor international human rights law and her research is mainly focused on the expansion of trade beyond borders and the universaling effects of the human rights movement.

Shahzad Ahmed has made his voice known by fighting against online censorship in Pakistan.

Amira Yahyaoui is a Tunisian blogger, activist and founder of the NGO Al Bawsala.

For more on awards, see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/my-post-number-1000-human-rights-awards-finally-made-accessible-for-and-by-true-heroes/

Source: Human rights defender Margaret Sekaggya Sekaggya to chair the Human Rights Tulip 2015 Jury | News item | Human Rights Tulip

UN recognizes that Belarus violated the freedom of association of Ales Bialiatski

November 19, 2014

The UN Human Rights Committee decided on 24 September 2014 that Belarus had violated the freedom of association of Ales Bialiatski, President of Human Rights Centre “Viasna”. This groundbreaking decision is not limited to Belarus but concerns all signatory States that violate the freedom of association. The interpretation could benefit other human rights defenders who are under pressure from political and administrative measures to curtail their right to freedom of association. The text of the press release issued by FIDH (whose Director General represented the victim) on 17 November follows:

Paris-Minsk, 17 November 2014 – In a decision that will go down in history, on 24 September 2014 the UN Human Rights Committee officially recognized that the Republic of Belarus violated the rights of Ales Bialiatski, President of Human Rights Centre “Viasna” and FIDH Vice President. The Committee recognized violations of Article 9 (the right to liberty and security of the person), Article 14 (the right to justice and a fair trial), and Article 22 (freedom of association) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This decision follows an individual communication from Ales Bialiatski’s spouse Natalia Pinchuk, represented by FIDH Director General Antoine Bernard. It sends a strong signal to regimes that manipulate their legislation to stifle critical voices and violate the freedom of association.

After Viasna was deprived of its state registration in 2003, its founders applied for registration at the Ministry of Justice three times between 2007 and 2009. However, the state refused registration every time. As a result, Viasna was unable to open a bank account in its name and receive funding for its activities. According to the Committee, Belarus violated the organization’s right to freedom of association when it denied Viasna registration, basing its decision solely on the argument that the documents submitted by Viasna needed minor adjustments to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Justice which could have been corrected should the Ministry had given it an opportunity to do so. The refusal to register Viasna rendered its activities illegal within Belarus and prevented its members from accessing their rights. Sentencing Ales Bialiatski to a lengthy prison term for actions associated with the receipt and expenditure of funds aimed at carrying out the legitimate activities of his organization was a direct consequence of the violation of freedom of association. The Belarusian courts rejected evidence that these funds were intended and used for these purposes and did not consider the case in a way that would aim to safeguard the freedom of association. Consequently, imposing criminal liability on Ales Bialiatski violated this freedom.

“This decision by the Human Rights Committee, based on international law, recognizes the legitimacy of Viasna’s activities and fully rehabilitates Ales Bialiatski”, rejoiced Valentin Stefanovic, Vice President of Viasna.

The Committee also found that Ales Bialiatski’s detention during the initial investigation was arbitrary, since the decision to arrest him was made by the procurator/prosecutor and not the court and was based solely on the gravity of charges and not on any evidence that this measure was needed or advisable.

The Committee found that over the course of criminal proceedings, Ales Bialiatski’s presumption of innocence was violated, as seen in treatment of the case by state media and statements by the president of Belarus. They presumed Ales Bialiatski’s guilt before the court’s verdict took effect. Also, he was wrongfully kept in a cage during the trial and brought into the courtroom in handcuffs.

The Committee’s decision states that Bialiatski is entitled to legal remedies: reconsideration of Viasna’s application for state registration, clearing of his criminal record, adequate compensation, including reimbursement of fines paid in accordance with judicial decisions. Furthermore, the Committee found that the State should review its laws on associations and bring them into accord with Article 22 of the ICCPR.

“The Committee has communicated the decision to the State, which is now obliged to provide Ales Bialiatski with legal remedies”, said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. “This decision is crucial for Viasna, other Belarusian human rights organizations and the respect for liberty of association all over the world, as numerous regimes try to stifle critical voices”.

The decision reached by the Committee on this case sets a precedent. It clearly demonstrates that the actions of a state aimed at obstructing the activities of human rights organizations – from refusing to register an association to prosecuting its members for exercising their right to associate—are in violation of international law. No manipulation of internal legislation by individual states can hide these violations from the international community.

Our organizations consider this decision a source of expert legal arguments in the face of ever increasing pressure on human rights defenders and their organizations.

for earlier posts see https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/ales-bialiatski/

UN recognizes that Belarus violated the rights of Ales ….

Good NEWS: Ales Bialiatski – Belarus’ best-known human rights defender – freed from prison

June 22, 2014

On 21 June 2014 it was reported by AP and others that prominent Belarusian human rights defender  Ales Bialiatski was finally released from prison that day. The 51-year-old leader of the NGO Vyasna, was released 20 months ahead of schedule. Supporters greeted Bialiatski at a train station in the capital, Minsk, after he traveled from prison.”The international support and the support back home, this is what brought about my release,” Bialiatski told reporters, “I will continue to do what Ive been doing.”   [6 people remain in prison for political activism, including former presidential candidate Nikolai Statkevich]

via Belarus human rights leader freed from prison after 3 years in possible gesture to West | Star Tribune.

for earlier posts on Ales Bialiatski: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/ales-bialiatski/

Human rights defenders call for release political prisoners during Ice Hockey World Championship in Belarus

April 25, 2014

Libereco, a Swiss-German human rights organisation, called on Lukashenka to grant amnesty to the Belarusian political prisoners on the occasion of the Ice Hockey World Championship, The statement on Libereco’s website reads that nine people remain under arrest for political reasons in Belarus. They are former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich, Ales Bialiatski, activists Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Andrei Haidukou, Eudard Lobau, Vasili Parfiankou, Artsiom Prakapenka and Yauhen Vaskovich.

Interesting to note that the appeal to Lukashenka was signed by Christoph Strässer, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy; Read the rest of this entry »

Multiple Exposure: Front Line’s video programme for Human Rights Defenders

March 22, 2014


This blog wants keep you informed of what happens to human rights defenders and on what they do to protect the rights of others. I have also a special interest in the power of images in this area.  So, I draw your attention to “Multiple Exposure”  a monthly video magazine broadcast by Front Line Defenders, now in its 5th episode. Segments in the series will offer a behind-the-scenes peek at the difficulty of carrying out human rights work in different countries; more information about trends and political developments that directly impact human rights; and profiles of individual human rights defenders at risk.

Episode 5 covers the finalists of the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders

Pakistan: SAWERA – Recipient of the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk
SAWERA was selected from a total of 110 nominees from 51 countries on the basis of the NGO’s exceptional courage in defending the rights of women and girls in a region where groups working on these issues face extreme risks.
Bangladesh: Adilur Rahman Khan- Finalist of the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award
Adilur Rahman Khan is the Secretary of Odhikar, a human rights organisation founded in 1994 to raise awareness of human rights abuses and to create a vibrant democratic system through election monitoring.

Kenya: Lydia Mukami – Finalist of the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award
Lydia Mukami is the chair of the Mwea Foundation, a grass-roots organisation of rice farmers in the Mwea constituency of Kirinyaga county, in the Central Province of Kenya.

Belarus: Ales Bialiatski – Finalist of the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award
In a country where almost all independent critical voices have been silenced, Ales Bialiatski is one of the few people prepared to champion civil liberties, human rights and the rule of law.

Honduras: Berta Caceres – Finalist of the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award
Berta Caceres is a Lenca indigenous woman who has been on the front lines defending the territory and the rights of the indigenous Lenca people for the last 20 years.

United Arab Emirates: Dr Mohamed Al Roken – Finalist of the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award
Dr Mohamed Al Roken is a leading lawyer and human rights defender in the United Arab Emirates. Despite official hostility and restrictive laws designed to curtail human rights activities, Mohamed has remained a champion of the rule of law and respect for universal human rights.

Multiple Exposure | Front Line.

12 human rights defenders who are not on the slopes of Sochi

February 9, 2014

FLD launches Olympics campaign on 12 human rights defenders

Front Line Defenders launched an online and social media campaign to focus attention on the plight of 12 human rights defenders (HRDs) from Eastern Europe and Central Asia coinciding with the launch of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The ‘Rights. Risks. Change!’ campaign (www.sportshrd.org) calls on the public to take solidarity action to support these 12 defenders and to pressure local officials to respect the work of HRDs.

All 12 of the HRDs highlighted in the campaign have displayed great courage and integrity in their work on a range of human rights issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Belarusian human rights defenders urge UN to establish office in Minsk and be firm on the question of Bialiatski

October 29, 2013

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) should estabelarusian human rights forumblish a mission in Belarus, the delegates to the Third Belarusian Human Rights Forum, which took place in Vilnius on Saturday and Sunday, say in a statement on 27 October. The delegates also urge the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to take measures to encourage Belarusian authorities to respect human rights. It is necessary for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to preserve its Ad Hoc Working Group on Belarus and for all OSCE institutions and bodies, including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, to step up cooperation with Belarus’ civil society. The delegates condemn violations of human rights by Belarusian authorities and urge them to abide by international commitments and implement recommendations within the framework of the UN Universal Periodic Review. Authorities should invite all UN special rapporteurs to visit Belarus, above all, the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on Belarus.

Natallia Pinchuk: No concessions to regime

At the same meeting, Ales Bialiatski‘s wife called on the West to be consistent in relation to Belarus. Natallia Pinchuk calls not to close the question of rehabilitation, not to reduce pressure on the Belarusian authorities and not to make concessions until all political prisoners are released, Radio Svaboda reports. “Some human rights defenders began to propose in their articles and speeches to lift demands for the full rehabilitation of political prisoners. They say the regime will never agree on it. But I think we must be consistent first of all. If we began to demand the rehabilitation, we must keep to this position. Secondly, people’s rights remain restricted without rehabilitation. They have only half-freedom,” she said. “We, relatives of the political prisoners, expect firmness and applying all instruments from the European Union and the US. It’s very important that the US and Europe have a concerted approach,” she said. Natallia Pinchuk is sure that her husband, who serves his term in a correctional colony shares her opinion.

via Belarusian human rights defenders urge UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish office in Minsk | Belarus: civil society under attack | Freeales.fidh.net and

http://www.charter97.org/en/news/2013/10/28/78577/

Belarus Ales Byalyatski wins Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize of Council of Europe

September 30, 2013

 

Ales Byalyatski wins Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize

Imprisoned Belarus human rights defender Ales Byalyatski has been awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize of the  Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.  Read the rest of this entry »

Detention after solidarity action in Mahiliou, Belarus

August 8, 2013

Social activist Dyiana Yakauleva was detained by the riot police at the police station in Krylenka Street. Human rights defenders Barys Bukhel and Aliaksei Kolchyn are trying to clear up the circumstances of the detention. From 11.30 -12.30  a.m. a solidarity action, timed to coincide with the International Day of Solidarity with the Civil Society of Belarus, was held in the city of Mahiliou, Belarus. During the action, social activists handed out postcards with a portrait of the imprisoned head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski. The protest went peacefully but after it ended Dyiana Yakauleva was detained anyway.

via Detentions after solidarity action in Mahiliou – Charter97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk.

 

Respected Iranian lawyer in exile, Karim Lahidji, elected President of the FIDH

May 28, 2013

Iranians are 'against' a conflict with the West
(Karim Lahidji, President of the International Federation of Human Rights(c) FRANCE 24)
Today Karim Lahidji was elected as new President of FIDH. He succeeds to Souhayr Belhassen who headed the Federation for six years. The vote was held during the 38th FIDH Congress in Istanbul where the FIDH member organisations were meeting to elect the new International Board and define the main FIDH orientations for the next three years. “It is an immense honour Read the rest of this entry »