Viasna Human Rights Centre

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The Viasna Human Rights Centre is a human rights organization based in Minsk, Belarus. The organization aims to provide financial and legal assistance to political prisoners and their families, and was founded in 1996 by activist Ales Bialatski in response to large-scale repression of demonstrations by the government of Alexander Lukashenko.[1]

In 2005, Bialatski and Viasna won the Homo Homini Award of the Czech NGO People in Need, which recognizes "an individual who is deserving of significant recognition due to their promotion of human rights, democracy and non-violent solutions to political conflicts".[1]

Following a widespread crackdown on political activists protesting a controversial 2010 presidential election criticized by United Nations[2] and European Union observers,[3] both Viasna's offices[4] and Bialatski's home have been repeatedly searched by state security forces.[5] On 14 February, Bialatski was summoned to the Public Prosecutor's office and warned that as Viasna was an unregistered organization, the government would seek criminal proceedings against it if the group continued to operate.[6]

On 26 November 2012, in accordance with a court ruling against Bialatski, the Minsk office of Viasna was confiscated and sealed by the Belarusian government.[7] Amnesty International described the closure as "a blatant violation of Belarus' international human rights obligations".[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Homo Homini Award". People in Need. 2005. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "United Nations to Belarus: Release political prisoners". Kyiv Post. 2011-01-11. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  3. ^ "Who attacked Belarusian government building?". Polskie Radio. 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  4. ^ Ales Bialatski (14 March 2011). "Shattering Hopes". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Ales Bialatski. "Testimony of Ales Bialatski". dailymotion.com. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Warning against Mr. Ales Bialatski". International Federation for Human Rights. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Artur Smirnow (28 November 2012). "Minsk authorities close human rights office". Deutsche Welle. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Belarus evicts leading human rights organization". Amnesty International. 26 November 2012. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 

External links[edit]