Statement of PEN Ukraine on the situation in Belarus

Published: 14.08.2020,  Views: 804

We, Ukrainian writers, journalists, human rights defenders, scholars, publishers, members of PEN Ukraine, consider the current situation in Belarus to be utterly unacceptable.

The use of force by Belarusian authorities against demonstrators who have taken and continue taking to the streets to protest peacefully is a flagrant violation of all norms of international and Belarusian legislation in the realm of human rights, including the UN Convention against Torture which Belarus joined.

As of August 13, death of 2 persons killed by security forces personnel is confirmed, and the overall number of civilians detained, according to the data from the Belarusian Interior Ministry, is close to 7000. Those include writers, public activists, journalists of Belarusian and foreign mass media. There is no contact with the majority of them, and the whereabouts of some are unknown. Moreover, law enforcement officials hinder and even render impossible the contact between detained foreign citizens and diplomatic missions of their respective countries.

Belarusian human rights organizations report deplorable conditions where the detained are held in custody: overcrowded prison cells, lack of food. There is continuous information that the detained are being beaten and tortured by law enforcement personnel.

Systematic disruptions in the access to the Internet, blockage of websites of oppositional organizations and initiatives have been recorded throughout the country. Notable Belarusian journalists are quitting central state media in dissent with censorship on coverage of protests.

All these and other facts unveiled by the international media and human rights defenders provide grounds to qualify actions of the Belarusian authorities as state terrorism in accordance to The Geneva Declaration on Terrorism from 1987 (UN General Assembly Doc. A/42/307).

We call on governments of democratic states, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the UN Human Rights Council, and other international human rights and humanitarian organizations to step up pressure on the Belarusian authorities in order to immediately end unlawful use of force against civilians, use of torture, persecution of journalists and human rights defenders, atrocious violations of freedom of expression and restriction of access to information.

The statement has been signed by:

Andrei Kurkov – writer
Marianna Kijanowska – writer
Halyna Vdovychenko – writer
Olesya Yaremchuk – journalist
Iryna Slavinska – journalist
Dmytro Krapyvenko – The Ukrainian Week editor-in-chief
Vladimir Rafeenko – writer
Oleksandra Koval – Director of the Ukrainian Book Institute
Artem Chapaye – writer
Tamara Hundorova – scholar
Oleksandr Vilchynskyi – writer
Gulnara Bekirova – historian, political analyst
Aneta Kaminska – Polish poetess, translator
Оlexiy Nikitin – writer
Yevhenia Chupryna – poetess
Tetyana Teren – journalist
Julia Musakovska – poetess, translator
Constantin Sigov – philosopher and publisher
Andriy Lyubka – writer
Oksana Kutsenko – writer
Ostap Slyvynsky – writer
Nathalie Beltchenko – poetess, translator
Hryhoriy Falkovych – poet
Mykola Horbal – poet
Romana Romanyshyn – artist
Andriy Lesiv – artist
Iza Chruslińska – Polish publicist
Andrij Bondar – writer
Halyna Coynash – journalist
Mykola Riabchuk – writer and publicist
Arkadiy Shtypel – poet, translator
Igor Kozlovskyy – religious scholar, writer
Maria Galina – writer, poetess, translator
Taras Prochaśko – writer
Yurko Prokhasko – essayist, translator, psychoanalyst
Andrij Pavlyšyn – historian, translator, publicist
Yevhen Zaharov – human rights defender, publicist, publisher
Haska Shyyan – writer
Iryna Shuvalova – writer, translator
Anastasia Levkova – writer, editor
Ivan Andrusiak – poet, children’s writer, editor
Rostyslav Semkiv – Director of Smoloskyp Publishing House
Alla Tatarenko – translator
Iya Kiva – poetess, translator, journalist
Victor Morozov – musician, translator
Vitaly Portnikov – publicist
Tanja Maljartschuk – writer
Iryna Starovoyt – poetess, translator
Leonid Finberg – Dukh i Litera Publishing House editor-in-chief
Oles Ilchenko – writer
Ihor Isichenko – Archbishop
Kateryna Kalytko – writer
Taras Voznyak – political analyst
Larysa Denysenko – writer, human rights defender
Natalka Bilotserkivets – poetess
Vasyl Makhno – writer
Oleksiy Panych – philosopher and translator
Bohdan Kolomiychuk – writer
Stanislav Aseyev – writer, Radio Liberty author
Victoria Amelina – writer
Alim Aliev – Deputy Director General of the Ukrainian Institute
Anatoliy Dnistrovyi – writer
Stepan Protsiuk – writer
Oleksiy Sinchenko – literary scholar
Natalka Sniadanko – writer, translator
Yuri Makarov – journalist
Volodymyr Kazarin – Rector of Taurida National University
Anna Vovchenko – translator
Marko Andryczyk – writer
Oksana Forostyna – publisher, writer
Zoya Kazanzhy – journalist, writer
Olena Marynycheva – translator
Vitaliy Chernetskyi – literary scholar, translator
Olena Haleta – literary scholar
Kateryna Mikhalitsyna –writer, translator, editor
Vakhtang Kebuladze – philosopher, writer, translator
Kateryna Botanova – literary critic, curator
Oksana Lushchevska – writer
Iryna Tsilyk – film director, writer
Mark Belorusez – translator
Borys Khersonskyi – poet, translator
Myroslava Barchuk – journalist, TV presenter