Belarus
20.08.12
Urgent Interventions

Harassemnt of Viasna Board member Tatsiana Revyaka

URGENT APPEAL -THE OBSERVATORY

BLR 002 / 0812 / OBS 077

Harassment

Belarus

August 20, 2012

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme ofthe International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Belarus.

Description of the situation:

TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the interrogation bythe KGB of Ms. Tatsiana Revyaka, Board member of the Human Rights Centre“Viasna”.

According to the information received, on August 17,2012, Ms. Revyaka was summoned to the KGB “as a person knowledgeable about thecircumstances relevant to the national security of the Republic of Belarus”.

Ms. Tatsiana Revyaka reported that KGB officersinterrogated her about a publication on Viasna website on August 15, 2012titled “Mahiliou KGB interferes with electoral process”. The officers alsoshowed her a printout from the website charter97.org containing the samereprinted information under the heading “Mogilev KGB terrorises collectors ofsignatures”. The officers also inquired about the source of the information andits authors and asked her whether she checked the date mentioned in thearticle, arguing that publishing such information without confirming it woulddiscredit the state security of Belarus. As a result, Ms. Revyaka was warnedover the publication of unchecked information on Viasna's website.

However,despite all these verbal criticisms, the KGB allegedly told Ms. Revyaka that ithad no legal motivation to open judicial proceedings against her.

Thesaid publication describes how a KGB officer in Mogilev broke into theapartment of Mr. Uladislau Yaroshau, a collector of signatures and student atthe Mogilev State University of Arkady Kuliashou, and tried to learn about howmuch money he received for the collection of signatures and who managed theprocess. He threatened to dismiss Mr. Yaroshau from the university for his workin the team of an opposition candidate and proposed to him to cooperate withthe KGB.

TheObservatory strongly condemns the harassment of Ms. Tatsiana Revyaka, since itseems to merely aim at sanctioning her human rights activities.

TheObservatory is particularly concerned that the pressure on her, and moregenerally on human rights defenders, has intensified in the currentpre-electoral context, while HRC Viasna and the Belarusian Helsinki Committeeconduct monitoring of the electoral process in the framework of a campaignentitled “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”.

Actions requested :

Pleasewrite to the Belarusian authorities, urging them to :

i. Guarantee in allcircumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Tatsiana Revyaka, as well as of all humanrights defenders in Belarus;

iii. Put an end to any kindof harassment - including at the judicial level - against Ms. Tatsiana Revyakaas well as against all other human rights defenders in Belarus;

iv. Conform with theprovisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by theGeneral Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone hasthe right, individually and in association with others, to promote and tostrive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamentalfreedoms at the national and international levels”,

- its Article 6 (b) and (c), which states that“Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others […] asprovided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments,freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information andknowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms and [...] to study,discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice,of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and otherappropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”.

- and its Article 12.2, which provides that “theState shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by thecompetent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others,against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adversediscrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of hisor her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the presentDeclaration” ;

v. Ensure in allcircumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordancewith international human rights standards and international instrumentsratified by the Belarusian Republic.

Addresses:

· President AlexanderLukashenko, ul .Karla Marksa, 38, 220016 Minsk, Belarus, Fax :

+ 375 172 26 06 10 or +375 172 22 38 72, Email: contact@president.gov.by

Head of the Administration of thePresident of Belarus, Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Makei, Ul. K. Marksa 34,220016 Minsk, Fax: + 375 17 226-06-10

· General Prosecutor,Grigory Alekseevich Vasilevich, Internatsionalnaya str. 22, 220050 Minsk,Belarus, Fax: + 375 17 226 42 52

· Minister of Justice ofBelarus, Mr. Viktor Grigorevich Golovanov, Ul. Kollektornaya,10, 220004 Minsk, Belarus, Email kanc@minjust.by

· President of the SupremeCourt of Belarus, Mr. Valentin Olegovich Sukalo, Ul. Lenina,28, 220030 Minsk, Belarus, Email: scjustrb@pmrb.gov.by

· Permanent Mission ofBelarus to the United Nations in Geneva, 15 avenue de la paix, 1211 Geneva 20,Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 748 24 51. Email: mission.belarus@ties.itu.int

· Embassy of Belarus inBrussels, 192 avenue Molière, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium, Fax : + 32 2.340.02.87,Email : embbel@skynet.be

·

Please also write to thediplomatic mission or embassy of Belarus in your respective country.

***

Paris-Geneva, August 20,2012

Kindly inform us of anyaction undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

To contact the Observatory,call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 143 55 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22809 49 29

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