Libereco has sent a letter to the Swiss Foreign Minister, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, asking him to revoke the recognition of Hermann Alexander Beyeler as Belarusian Honorary Consul in Lucerne. In Libereco’s view, Beyeler’s behaviour, statements and business dealings are causing great damage to Switzerland’s reputation at home and abroad.

Beyeler visited Belarus in August 2023 and January 2024 and acted like a shadow foreign minister of Switzerland – always accompanied and documented by Belarusian state media. The Belarusian population was given the impression that Beyeler’s visit was an important one by an official representative of Switzerland.

Switzerland has fully accepted the sanctions imposed on Belarus by the EU and numerous other states and is consistently campaigning for the release of the approximately 1,500 political prisoners in the country.

“In our view, Beyeler’s public appearances in Belarus are in clear contradiction to the Swiss sanctions, to Switzerland’s human rights demands on the Belarusian regime and to the goals of Swiss foreign policy, which are intended to contribute to respect for human rights and the promotion of democracy,” explains Lars Bünger, President of Libereco Switzerland.

According to a recent investigation by the Belarusian Investigative Centre (BIC), Beyeler is presumably using his position as honorary consul to pursue his own business interests in Belarus. His company, HAB Invest AG, has been commissioned to supply endoprostheses to Belarus since 2023 with a market share of 13.5%. According to BIC research, Beyeler’s company played no role in the supply of medical implants in Belarus until 2022.

In the course of a wave of state repression in April 2022, 35 orthopaedic surgeons were briefly arrested in Belarus, whereupon the procurement of endoprostheses was centralised. The subsequent awarding of contracts to Beyeler’s company HAB Invest AG as part of the state-orchestrated centralisation of the ordering system may give the impression that he was rewarded for his loyal service to the Belarusian regime (Tages-Anzeiger, 30.01.2024)

The letter from Libereco to Federal Councillor Cassis for example states:

“The people of Belarus are suffering under the brutal repression of the ruling regime, they live under constant surveillance by the security authorities and in constant fear of persecution, torture and imprisonment.

As Belarusian Honorary Consul in Lucerne, Mr Beyeler should represent the interests of the Belarusian population and the Belarusian diaspora in Switzerland and also promote the Swiss values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law towards his contacts in Belarus. We have observed none of this in the exercise of his office as Honorary Consul.

On the contrary, he harms the goals of Swiss foreign policy and undermines the Swiss sanctions against Belarus.”

In August 2022, Libereco had published an open letter calling on the three Belarusian honorary consuls in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to resign. The Belarusian honorary consul in Liechtenstein subsequently announced his resignation in January 2023.

However, Hermann Alexander Beyeler in Lucerne and SVP politician Andrey Nazheskin in Fribourg continue to act as Belarusian honorary consuls in the service of the Belarusian regime of ruler Alexander Lukashenko, which is responsible for serious human rights violations and crimes against humanity.