Wave of Protests Around the World Calls for Tougher Stand Against Dictatorship in Belarus

Jun 18, 2013, 19:38 ET from Belarusians in Exile

LONDON, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Belarusian activists are staging public protests in different European and US cities over the summer to call attention to the issue and to petition the EU and the US to increase the sanctions and cut off the flow of our money to the dictatorial regime of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130618/NY34617)

In June, human rights organization Free Belarus Now! together with other nonprofit groups staged a series of major protests in London, when hundreds of people laid motionless encased in body bags in front of the British Parliament and on Piccadilly Circus. The performance signified that not only people in Belarus are arrested and tortured and killed, but their bodies are not always being returned to their relatives. The protest in London was called "Give a Body Back".

The protests also pop up in New York, Washington D.C., Stockholm, and other cities. The protesters call on the EU and the US government to expand targeted economic sanctions against the dictatorial regime in Belarus.

A placard given out at the protest stated: "Every year the citizens of the EU are assured that our governments have imposed sanctions against the Lukashenko Regime: However the sanctions are totally ineffective and it doesn't have to be this way.

The largest Belarusian state-owned companies have not been added to the EU sanctions list. Therefore we continue our financial support of repression and human rights violations by importing an ever increasing amount of goods from Belarus.  It is absurd that while the EU has been sanctioning the Lukashenko Regime the EU has also become Belarus' largest trading partner after Russia. Our imports are financing repression.  We believe that people do not know this, and we do not believe that people would support this policy if they did know.  

Repression and human rights violations in Belarus could be greatly decreased or ended if the EU and USA focus on morality in politics rather than realpolitik and impose strong sanctions against the Belarusian regime.

'Belarusians in Exile', a US-based human rights group, is working to alert the US and the EU government that trading with the State Belarusian companies means giving money for oppression in Belarus. "The country is frozen in a Stalinist time warp, ruled by the last dictator in Europe, President Alexander Lukashenko. Dissidents are kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured and sometimes executed, often without trial. Bodies of those executed are not returned to families. Cases of political kidnapping and murder are not investigated, and many innocent prisoners languish in Belarusian jails," says Ilya Lushnikov, BiE spokesperson. "We hope that the US and the EU will decide to expand sanctions against Belarus and ban any trade with the dictator."

Ilya Lushnikov
+1 (646) 583-2525

SOURCE Belarusians in Exile