Day of first Belarusian Independence

By Sam Fisk

On the 25th of March Belarusian oppositition- and civil-society activists will assemble around the country to remember the proclamation of the first Belarusian Republic in 1918 and protest against the authoritarian regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Member organisations of LYMEC and IFLRY, in support of the pro-democratic Belarusian opposition, are also marking the first Independence Day of Belarus.

Since the presidential elections in December 2010 the country has gone through a wave of repression against political activists, human-rights defender and civil-society organizations. Two former opposition candidates, Andrei Sannikau and  Mikola Statkevich, as well as other individuals including  the leader of the well-known Human-Rights Center “Viasna”, Ales Bialiatski, are kept as political prisoners by the regime.

Just in the last week the regime has shown again unbearable brutality by executing two young men who were suspected of a bomb-blast in the Minsk metro during a questionable and intransparent trial. The refusal of Lukashenka to follow the call by the European Union and several European governments to put an immediate moratorium to the use of capital punishment makes very clear that the so-called “Last Dictator of Europe” is acting way beyond any moral standards.

The inhuman actions of Lukashenka and his cronies within the Belarusian regime and security forces are unacceptable. LYMEC and IFLRY are calling on the Belarusian President for an immediate stop of the violent repressions against his opponents and the release of all political prisoners including the withdrawal of political-motivated accusations in ongoing trials against activists of the opposition and civil-society.

Liberal Youth are actively engaging with IFLRY and LYMEC on this issue through joining working groups and assisting campaigns to raise awareness of the worrying situation in Belarus.

Lukashenka’s regime, dubbed ‘the last dictatorship in Europe’, is right on our doorsteps. Last month, Liberal Youth held a joint forum with LIBG on the issue.

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