The last couple of weeks, thousands of people have participated in protests throughout Belarus. These protests can be generally seen as a result of a weak economy; but were ultimately triggered by the implementation of an infamous “social parasite” ” law, which basically taxes unemployment.
President Aleksandr Lukashenko has held a tight grip on power since 1994, the regime has rolled back democracy, doesn’t respect human rights and continuously cracks down on the opposition.
Throughout the last couple of days we have seen brutal crackdowns on demonstrations, several arrests of opposition figures and as well as journalists and attempts to stop new protests from arising.
Despite this, thousands of brave people continue to go to the street, they demand their voices to be heard and we support them in calling for the withdrawal of this law.
Another dimension is the concern that Russia might use the situation to assert its power over Belarus. Some say that the international community should avoid criticizing the Belarusian government’s crackdown on human rights in order not to cause tension. We believe that this would be a mistake. Our focus has to be the freedom of the people of Belarus, and for that reason we have to criticize the crackdown on human rights at the same time as we stand up for the sovereignty of Belarus.
We demand that all political detainees will be released and that the government stops its violent attitude towards peaceful protests. We also urge the international community in general, and the European Union in particular, to put pressure on Aleksandr Lukashenko and for them to increase their support for democratic forces in the country.
We also urge all our member organizations to spread awareness about the situation in Belarus, and for them to help us in supporting the democratic opposition.
IFLRY will continue our work for democracy in Belarus and continues to stand by the democratic opposition in the country.