While the world is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and countries are adapting to its new reality and challenges, Belarusians are out protesting against fraud within last Sunday’s Presidential election that have ‘re-elected’ authoritarian Alexander Lukashenko as head of state.
With deep regret, the Belarusian Students’ Association (BSA), the Brotherhood of Organizers of Student Self-Government (BOSS) and the European Students’ Union (ESU) inform the international community about increasing repressions and human rights violations happening now in Belarus.
Hundreds of citizens have been arrested for being a part of peaceful demonstrations; criminal and/or administrative cases have been initiated against almost all the opposition candidates to Lukashenko’s regime, along with their confidants and members of their campaign headquarters. The fundamental freedoms and rights of the citizens of Belarus are under heavy and extensive oppression as the regime is arbitrarily detaining and arresting independent journalists and members of civil society, including students for demanding practising critical violations of the right to adequate protection, additionally, independent civil society organisations and journalists reporting the demonstrations are being either detained or arrested. It is clear that the elections are going to happen without any independent international observers, as well as the quantity of internal observers is decreased, which was explained by the Central Election Commission as an epidemiological measure. There is more information coming from independent observers noticing manipulations in the counting of votes during the early voting.
Bearing in mind the above mentioned, we urge:
1) The Ministry of Internal Affairs to release all political prisoners and arrestees
2) The Central Election Commission to annul the election results and to call new elections
3) The Belarusian Government to ensure the implementation of constitutional rights in terms of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to elect and be elected