Peaceful protests for fair elections have been going on in Belarus for a long time. The authorities used truncheons, rubber bullets, tear gas, stun grenades, water cannons, and special equipment against peaceful demonstrators. Thousands were arrested. Access to dozens of media sites has been blocked. Criminal cases have been initiated on charges of ‘mass riots’ and ‘violence against the police’.

Passionate people all around the world support the peaceful protest in Belarus and hold global campaign #BelarusWatch in solidarity with Belarusians.

The solidarity action #BelarusWatch in support of the peaceful protest in Belarus started on August 26th. The date of August 26th symbolizes the 26th anniversary of Alexander Lukashenko’s presidency. Peaceful rallies took place in Italy (Rome), Belgium (Brussels), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Lithuania (Kaunas, Klaipeda), Latvia, the United Kingdom (London), Georgia (Batumi, Tbilisi), Germany (Hamburg), Poland (Warsaw), the United States (Washington, New York, San Francisco), Slovenia (Žalec), Armenia (Yerevan), Norway (Oslo), Ukraine (Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Khmelnytskyi, Rivne, Poltava, Bakhmut, Zinkiv) and other cities around the world. All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” for its part supports the development of democracy and the rule of law in the world and is solidary with people who defend their right to live in a free country, thus it joins the campaign.

The initiators of the campaign believe that democratic governments cannot stand aside and must use all the possible mechanisms of international law to stop the violence and persecution against peaceful demonstrators.

Participants of the #BelarusWatch campaign called on the national governments with several specific requests. The first one is to urge the Lukashenko’s regime to stop persecuting peaceful protesters, to release detainees immediately, and to dismiss all the trumped-up cases. The second is to ensure the work of international missions in Belarus to monitor human rights abuses. The third is to establish an international commission to investigate crimes committed during the government’s crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Subsequently, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) responded to the international actions and announced the urgent establishment of an international commission to collect evidence and information on crimes committed during the Belarusian government’s crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Moreover, the PACE declared that it refused to recognize the results of the presidential election in the country.

“In order to send a clear signal to all the security forces officers that serious human rights violations will not go unpunished, the Council of Europe, in cooperation with other international bodies, shall urgently establish an international investigative body to gather information and provide evidence of human rights violations in Belarus”.

To make this happen, #BelarusWatch volunteers sent 648 personal appeals to PACE members urging the establishment of an international commission for such investigation.

Note. The mission of the “Active Community” is to achieve prosperity through the democratic development of Ukrainian communities. The goal for 2025 is to activate and involve at least 1% of citizens in decision-making and promotion of reforms in Ukraine on a systemic basis for the well-being of Ukrainian communities. The initiative was created through the activities of the “Institute Respublica”. We are working to increase the civil activity of citizens.

Author: the head of the press service of the “Institute Respublica” and the All-Ukrainian Initiative “Active Community” Tetiana Kavunenko