Ales Bialiatski urges people to remain optimistic and support civil society in Belarus

August 4, the International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society and Human Rights Movement in Belarus, timed to the anniversary of the arrest of a recent political prisoner human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, is held in different countries of the world.

Conducting this day was initiated in 2012 by a coalition of non-governmental organizations of different countries to show solidarity with civilian forces in Belarus and moral support to human rights defenders and civil society activists, who continue to work in the country.

“Solidarity of colleagues and unfamiliar people who supported us with their letters or through public actions, pickets, meetings with embassies and so on, means very much for all political prisoners, including myself”, said Ales Bialiatski in an interview with the initiator of the Day, speaking about the importance of the campaign.

Urging the international community to continue supporting Belarusian civil society, the human rights activist said that the situation in which activists of non-governmental organizations operate in Belarus remains very difficult. He points out that many organizations do not have registration, and such work is punishable under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus.

Mr. Bialiatski puts a special hope on youth initiatives. “Youth initiatives, often informal ones, that work for culture, environment and human rights protection are new trends that has emerged over the time, while I was in prison. And I very much hope that these initiatives will develop, strengthen and intensify the Belarusian civil society.”

Expressing gratitude for the solidarity, Ales Bialiatski encourages founders of the Solidairity Day, August 4, and all its supporters to remain optimistic.

Bear in mind, the head of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Ales Bialiatski was arrested on 4 August 2011 for his human rights work has spent almost three years in prison. All this time, the European Union, the United States and international human rights organizations have demanded that the Belarusian authorities released prisoners of conscience.

Other political prisoners