In the run-up to International Human Rights Day and the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December, 131 MPs from 21 countries are addressing the ruling regime in Belarus. In an open letter they demand the release of all political prisoners.
The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna, Ales Bialiatski, is facing more than 12 years in prison. The 60-year-old has been innocently imprisoned for more than 500 days. Bialiatski is one of more than 1440 political prisoners in Belarus who are unlawfully imprisoned for political reasons.
On the initiative of the German-Swiss human rights organisation Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights, 131 parliamentarians from all over Europe are now demanding the release of Bialiatski and all other political prisoners. The letter is being sent to Alexander Lukashenko, Andrei Shved (Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus), Ivan Kubrakov, (Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus) and Oleg Matkin (Head of the Department for the Execution of Punishments).
100,000 signatures collected – to be given to the embassy
By the time the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded this Saturday, Libereco, together with the NGOs Campact and Campax in Germany and Switzerland, has already collected more than 100,000 signatures for the release of Ales Bialiatski, the also imprisoned opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova and all other political prisoners. The collected signatures will be handed over at a rally on Friday, 9 December, at 9:30 a.m. at the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Berlin. This is a reminder of those who stand up for their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association in Belarus and are therefore innocently in prison.
“The Open Letter from MPs from more than 20 countries shows impressively that we do not forget the political prisoners in Belarus. But now it is also up to the European governments. The imprisonment of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and more than 1400 other political prisoners must no longer be tolerated. The sanctions and punitive measures against the Belarusian regime must be tightened. The EU and Switzerland must finally exclude Belarus from the SWIFT payment system and from the qualification for the European Football Championship 2024, expel the Belarusian ambassadors and ban the red-green Lukashenko flag,” demands Lars Bünger, President of Libereco in Switzerland.
If you as a Member of Parliament would also like to sign the letter, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Text of the open letter:
Open Letter to Alexander Lukashenko and Regime Leadership We, parliamentarians from across Europe and representatives of our people from many countries, call for the release of Ales Bialiatski and all political prisoners in Belarus. In October this year the globally respected Nobel Committee recognised Ales Bialiatski’s commitment and work to promote human rights in Belarus when they awarded him the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr Bialiatski’s arrest in 2021 is troubling in many ways, not least because the work of Viasna is about Belarus upholding its international commitments. Your country is signatory to the UN’s “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” and the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”. It is your responsibility to ensure the rights of your citizens are upheld in your country. It is your responsibility to ensure that your citizens and prisoners in your care are treated with dignity and humanity. Yet, you imprison your countrymen and women who campaign to uphold the rights for which you are responsible. It is now more than 500 days since Mr Bialiatski was arrested, and he is still without trial. At the same time, Mr Bialiatski’s organisation has documented that your regime detains more than 1,440 people who should never be in prison. Along with the Nobel Committee we recognise and celebrate Mr Bialiatski’s commitment to peace and human rights. We call upon you to release him and all of the other prisoners whose rights you are denying.
Elisabeth Götze, Austrian National Council Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, Austrian National Council Petra Bayr, Austrian National Council Stephanie Krisper, Austrian National Council Fourat Ben Chikha, Belgium Federal Senate Sigurd Agersnap, Danish Parliament Eerik Kross, Estonian Riigikogu Nicola Beer, European Parliament (Germany) Delara Burkhardt, European Parliament (Germany) Erik Marquardt, European Parliament (Germany) Ciarán Cuffe, European Parliament (Ireland) Seán Kelly, European Parliament (Ireland) Rasa Juknevičienė, European Parliament (Lithuania) Andrzej Halicki, European Parliament (Poland) Miriam Lexmann, European Parliament (Slovakia) Anne Stambach-Terrenoir, French National Assembly Frédéric Mathieu, French National Assembly Marie-Christine Dalloz, French National Assembly André Vallini, French Senate Claude Kern, French Senate Didier Marie, French Senate Jaques Le Nay, French Senate Nicole Duranton, French Senate Alexander Müller, German Bundestag Agnieszka Brugger, German Bundestag Anton Hofreiter, German Bundestag Beate Walter-Rosenheimer, German Bundestag Chantal Kopf, German Bundestag Christoph Hoffmann, German Bundestag Claudia Roth, German Bundestag Deborah Düring, German Bundestag Derya Türk-Nachbaur, German Bundestag Dr. Konstantin v. Notz, German Bundestag Dr. Ophelia Nick, German Bundestag Dr. Paula Piechotta, German Bundestag Dr. Sebastian Schäfer, German Bundestag Dr. Till Steffen, German Bundestag Erhard Grundl, German Bundestag Frank Schwabe, German Bundestag Franziska Brantner, German Bundestag Gyde Jensen, German Bundestag Hanna Steinmüller, German Bundestag Helge Limburg, German Bundestag Jamila Schäfer, German Bundestag Dr. Jonas Geissler, German Bundestag Julian Pahlke, German Bundestag Jürgen Hardt, German Bundestag Kai Gehring, German Bundestag Katja Keul, German Bundestag Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Vice President German Bundestag Katrin Staffler, German Bundestag Lars Rohwer, German Bundestag Lisa Badum, German Bundestag Lukas Benner, German Bundestag Marcel Emmerich, German Bundestag Max Lucks, German Bundestag Merle Spellerberg, German Bundestag Michael Brand, German Bundestag Nina Stahr, German Bundestag Norbert Altenkamp, German Bundestag Nyke Slawik, German Bundestag Olaf in der Beek, German Bundestag Peter Heidt, German Bundestag Prof. Dr. Armin Grau, German Bundestag Robin Wagener, German Bundestag Sara Nanni, German Bundestag Stefan Gelbhaar, German Bundestag Stephanie Aeffner, German Bundestag Swantje Michaelsen, German Bundestag Tabea Rößner, German Bundestag Thomas Hacker, German Bundestag Ye-One Rhie, German Bundestag Ünal Çeviköz, Grand National Assembly of Turkey Foteini Pipili, Greek Parliament Cathal Berry, Irish Dáil Cathal Crowe, Irish Dáil Charlie Flanagan, Irish Dáil Cormac Devlin, Irish Dáil Denis Naughten, Irish Dáil Gary Gannon, Irish Dáil Ivana Bacik, Irish Dáil James Lawless, Irish Dáil Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Irish Dáil Marian Harkin, Irish Dáil Neale Richmond, Irish Dáil Seán Haughey, Irish Dáil Seán Sherlock, Irish Dáil Barry Ward, Irish Senate Catherine Ardagh, Irish Senate Erin McGreehan, Irish Senate Gerard Craughwell, Irish Senate Joe O'Reilly, Irish Senate Malcolm Byrne, Irish Senate Mary Seery Kearney, Irish Senate Tom Clonan, Irish Senate Arminas Lydeka, Lithuanian Parliament Dag Inge Ulstein, Norwegian Sorting Ingrid Fiskaa, Norwegian Sorting Jan Tore Sanner, Norwegian Sorting Siv Elisabeth Mossleth, Norwegian Sorting Catarina Rocha Ferreira, Portuguese Assembly of the Republic Paulo Pisco, Portuguese Assembly of the Republic Iulian Bulai, Romanian parliament Alexander Burnett, Scottish Parliament Liam McArthur, Scottish Parliament Willie Rennie, Scottish Parliament Laura Castel i Fort, Senate of Spain Camilla Hansén, Swedish Riksdag Jacob Risberg, Swedish Riksdag Jan Riise, Swedish Riksdag Rebecka Le Moine, Swedish Riksdag Ulrika Westerlund, Swedish Riksdag Claudia Friedl, Swiss National Council Damien Cottier, Swiss National Council Fabian Molina, Swiss National Council Lilian Studer, Swiss National Council Martina Munz, Swiss National Council Stefanie Prezioso, Swiss National Council Hişyar Özsoy, Turkish member of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe Brendan O'Hara, United Kingdom House of Commons Daniel Kawczynski, United Kingdom House of Commons Sir Tony Lloyd, United Kingdom House of Commons Tonia Antoniazzi, United Kingdom House of Commons Wendy Chamberlain, United Kingdom House of Commons Baroness Blackstone, United Kingdom House of Lords Baroness Helena Kennedy Q.C., United Kingdom House of Lords Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick, United Kingdom House of Lords Lord Alton of Liverpool, United Kingdom House of Lords Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, United Kingdom House of Lords Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, United Kingdom House of Lords Oleksiy Goncharenko, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine