Urgent appeal in support and solidarity with the citizens of Belarus! For the fair elections!

Сен 15.2020

10 September 2020

Urgent Appeal

Since 9 August 2020 the world has witnessed peaceful, non-violent protests in Belarus against the results of unfair and unfree presidential elections. All this time, the Belarusian authorities have been ignoring the large-scale peaceful protests of citizens demanding their constitutional right to vote and be elected, the right to observance and non-violation of the principles of fair, free, transparent, fair and democratic elections.

Key institutions, such as the OSCE/ODIHR, that are supposed to carry out preliminary monitoring, evaluation and preparation of the presidential elections at all levels gave their unbiased opinion on the presidential elections in Belarus, noting the violations of civil and political rights of voters, and failed to send an election observation mission, as Lukashenko has ignored his obligations and has not invited an election observation mission in a timely manner.

"Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ODIHR has made every effort to fulfill its election monitoring mandate and has conducted surveillance in several countries, as travel restrictions have been widely lifted. The lack of a timely invitation in such a challenging situation, the Director underlined, reflects a lack of commitment to co-operate with ODIHR election observers as envisaged by OSCE commitments. At the same time, Ms. Gísladóttir reiterated her deep concern at reports that prospective candidates had been intimidated and opposition activists arrested. "The protection of fundamental freedoms of assembly and expression is a precondition for genuine democratic elections," she said. The ODIHR Director Ms. Gisladottir also called on the authorities to take concrete and immediate steps to protect the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Belarus", 15 July 2020.[i]

Today, the situation of human rights and freedoms of citizens in Belarus, especially the rights of women and youth movements, becomes tragic. The latest facts of forced detention and placement in a pre-trial detention facility of a member of the Coordination Council, Ms. Maria Kolesnikova, and other members of the opposition are unacceptable. They should be urgently released, and the tools for international investigation of the large-scale human rights violations and impunity of the Belarusian authorities should be urgently applied.

We request all those who are committed to the universal values of human rights and freedoms to support the Appeal of FIDH as of 28 August 2020: "Belarus: A strong international reaction is needed to prevent further violence against civil society".[ii]

We ask that urgent intervention is taken, using the Moscow Mechanism of the OSCE/ODIHR[iii], to organize and send an expert mission to Belarus and include women experts in the fight against impunity in the Human Dimension format.

We all need a sustainable world with the values of human rights and freedoms, with respect for international obligations in the field of human rights and freedoms to end violence, discrimination against women and youth, and end impunity for officials who committed large-scale crimes against citizens in Belarus.


[i] https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/457309

[ii] https://www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/belarus/belarus-a-strong-international-reaction-is-needed-to-prevent-further

[iii] https://www.osce.org/odihr/20066






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Feedback from our focus groups



Experience should be attached to a law degree

Shakhboz Latipov, 24 y.o., young lawyer: “When I came to BDK for an internship, I had no experience in legal and human rights activities. Together with experienced senior colleagues, I began to attend trials, studied documents. Gradually my supervisor Khusanbai Saliev began to trust me the preparation of documents, carefully checked them and gave practical advice. Experience comes with time and cases you work on. Every day dozens of people who need help come to us, many of them are from socially vulnerable groups: the poor, large families, elderly citizens. A lawyer in a human rights organization sometimes acts as a psychologist, it is important for him to be able to maintain professionalism and show empathy. At the end of 2019, I successfully passed the exam to get the right to start working as attorney and now I work on cases as an attorney. I turn to my colleagues for help on complex issues, they always give me their advice. This is one of the strengths of the organization: there is support and understanding here.”



Organization unites regions

Feruza Amadalieva, social worker, leader, teacher: “TOT from BDK is a great opportunity to get acquainted with participants from different regions, we continue to communicate on social media and when we meet at events, as close friends, we have such warm relations! At the events, I improved my knowledge, systematized it, clarified how to apply it in practice. I really like the training modules and the way the system of training and practice is built: role-playing games, theory, discussions. Each person expresses himself/herself. I have become a leader for other vulnerable women, I try to help them and engage them in such events.” Feruza Amadalieva is a regular participant of many BDK events, she invites the BDK lawyers to provide legal advice to vulnerable women.



I became confident

In summer of 2019, Nuriza Talantbek kyzy took an active part in conducting regional screenings of documentaries, helped with organizational issues during the campaign dedicated to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, participated in trips, and did the TOT on women's leadership. She used to be a migrant, worked for an NGO in Osh, and now works in Bishkek in the service industry. She calls her participation in the TOT “an invaluable experience”: “I first attended such an event, and received exactly the information that I needed, for which I am sincerely grateful to the facilitators. I experienced very difficult issues in my life, and thanks to that knowledge, I was able to overcome them, I persevered! After the TOT, I became more confident, began to better understand the essence of human rights, and learned to defend my interests.”



The defendant has passed away. The work on his rehabilitation continues.

The case of Shukurullo Kochkarov shows that work on complex cases continues for many years. After the torture he was subjected to in 2010, he became disabled. We managed to get acquittal on one of the charges; the work is ongoing on achieving his rehabilitation and recognition as a victim of torture in order for compensation to be paid. Trials continue without Shukurullo Kochkarov - he died on 2 August 2019. His interests are represented by his father, Saidaziz Kochkarov, who also has a visual disability. “For many years, we have been supported by the employees of BDK, they have been handling the case of my son, they brought him to court because he couldn’t walk on his own, they constantly help our family: my wife and I underwent rehabilitation, they have helped my son by providing him with medicines, they provide all kinds of help”.



Comprehensive support for victims of torture

Resident of the Kara-Suu district, Dilyor Jumabaev, has extensive experience in dealing with law enforcement agencies. In 2010, he was accused of possessing firearms, and thanks to the work of lawyers, he was acquitted. Two years later, his house was first searched in order to find materials of an extremist nature, but nothing was found. In 2014, he was accused of possessing extremist materials. In court, the prosecutor requested 15 years in prison; the court sentenced him to 6 years. A few years later he was released on parole. “I am grateful to the lawyers of BDK for their expert legal assistance. I participated in a rehabilitation program for victims of torture. When I encounter violations, I recommend contacting this organization.”


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