Open Statement Regarding the Detention of Ukrainian Human Rights Defenders in Minsk
We, human rights and civil society organizations, demand that the Belarusian authorities immediately and unconditionally release the citizens of Ukraine and human rights defenders Yevhenii Vasyliev and Konstantin Reutski.
On August 12, 2020, around 5 p.m., Yevhenii Vasyliev and Konstantin Reutski were brutally and arbitrarily detained in Minsk near Victory Square by traffic police officers (DPS). The two Ukrainian human rights defenders were legally present on the territory of Belarus and did not commit any illegal actions. The detention was carried out with excessive force and clearly resulted in injuries and health hazards to the detainees. Witnesses video-recorded their detention. The whereabouts of Yevhenii and Konstantin are unknown. There is no connection with them.
Given the recorded facts of recent large-scale human rights violations in Belarus, including the disproportionate and illegal use of force by law enforcement officials, we are deeply concerned about the fate of our colleagues, their health, and their lives.
In this regard, we address the authorities of the Republic of Belarus with the demand to immediately release the citizens of Ukraine Konstantin Reutski and Yevhenii Vasyliev, who were detained illegally and without foundation. We ask the Belarusian state authorities to inform the Embassy of Ukraine in Belarus about the place of their location and the grounds for their detention.
Further, we request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to approach the authorities of the Republic of Belarus with the demand for the immediate release of Reutski and Vasyliev. We ask the Embassy of Ukraine to take all possible measures to establish their whereabouts and provide them with all necessary assistance.
We ask the governments of all European Union countries, Great Britain, Norway, Switzerland, the USA, and Canada to require that Belarus stops the arbitrary imprisonment of Ukrainian citizens and that it releases Kostyantyn Reutskiy and Yevhen Vasilyev. We furthermore ask you to strengthen sanctions against Belarusian officials involved in the politically motivated prosecution of Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens and international journalists, and in the violations of the freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of association.
We address all international human rights organizations to facilitate the work of independent monitoring missions on human rights in the Republic of Belarus. We ask you to contribute to the international visibility and condemnation of the falsification of election results and the crimes committed against peaceful protesters in Belarus.
We address the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to instigate criminal proceedings in connection with the unlawful detention of Konstantin Reutski, Yevhenii Vasyliev and other citizens of Ukraine by persons in the uniforms of law enforcement officers of the Republic of Belarus, to establish all the circumstances of the committed crimes, to investigate the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Human Rights Center ZMINA
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Charity Foundation East SOS
Human Rights Centre “Postup”
Human Rights Education House in Chernihiv
Cherkassky Human Rights Centre
Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
School of Mediapatriots
Kharkiv Regional Foundation “Public Alternative”
La Strada – Ukraine
Center for Civil Liberties
Crisis Media Center “Seversky Donets”
Congress of National Communities of Ukraine
NGO “Development of Azov Region”
Charity Foundation “Help and Cause”
Human Rights Initiative
Charitable Organisation SVOYI
NGO “Women Lugansk”
Molodaya Prosvita Prikarpattya
Charitable Foundation “Children’s Voices”
NGO “My Novopskovshchina”
Open Dialog Foundation
Kharkov Institute of Social Research
Crimean human rights group
Lugansk Regional Society All-Ukrainian Network LJV
Diya Human Rights Center
Free Russia House
Roma Fund Chirikli
List of the Civic Solidarity Platform members supporting the statement:
1.Public Verdict Foundation (Russia)
2.Human Rights House Foundation (Norway)
3.Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
4.The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
5.Kharkiv Regional Foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
6.Helsinki Committee of Armenia
7.Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
8.DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
9. Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
10.Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
11.Netherlands Helsinki Committee
12.Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)
13.Public Association “Dignity” (Kazakhstan)
14.Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
15.IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
16.Women of the Don (Russia)
17.Swedish OSCE-network (Sweden)
18.The Human Rights Center (Georgia)
19.Public Association “Human Rights Movement: Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”
20.World Organization against Torture (OMCT) (Belgium)
21.Solidarität mit der Bürgerbewegung in Russland e.V.
22.Georgian Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims- GCRT
23.Crude Accountability (USA)
24.International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
25.Macedonian Helsinki Committee
27.Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
28. Freedom Now (USA)