Speech of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya:
“Distinguished guests and participants, ladies and gentlemen,
The rule of law is the very core of every functioning democracy, the fundamental principle of every free government. The many benefits of freedom – to speak your mind, to be safe in your own home, to go on strike, to choose the government you want – are guaranteed and protected by the rule of law. Yet so often these freedoms are taken for granted. So often the rule of law is misunderstood.
But today there is no rule of law in Belarus. Today Belarusians find themselves in a situation of a complete legal default. In a situation when 200 people can be arrested and prosecuted just for writing their opinion online, as happened a week ago, or when we hear stories of inhuman attitude towards political prisoners, we must do everything we can to restore the rule of law in Belarus.
In order to achieve it, several very important steps must be taken. My office is working on a daily basis in this sphere of justice. We declare not only the prosecution of the perpetrators, but also the rehabilitation and compensation of victims of political repression. Together with the Venice Commission, we are also working to assess the changes in the criminal and administrative codes, as well as the law on the bar and the media. And our Office also fully support all the efforts to bring the regime to justice for violating the Convention on Torture and Hijacking of Ryanair flight.
I really on the international community’s support of the above-mentioned activities and I also call on the democratic countries:
- To Continue supporting the International Accountability Platform for Belarus in collecting, verifying and preserving the evidence of violations of international human rights law committed in Belarus.
- To advance universal jurisdiction cases and criminal investigation cases against Lukashenka.
- To Start using international conventions to submit country complaints against the regime in Belarus to international bodies.
- To deprive the right to vote in ICAO and interpol, and other international organizations for the regime.
- To provide funding for the Examination team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the human rights situation in Belarus since its budget has been severely cut.
I know that everything that I have described is not that easy to achieve, but I also know that it’s doable. And I call on all of you today to discuss these proposals and find the best way of how we can achieve desired goals in order to restore the rule of law in Belarus.
Yet, it is the rule of law and not of men, as have explained the American founding fathers. And yet, the rule of law is embedded in humanity. And because the rule of law is so deeply human, I want all of us to stay vIgilant, I want us to continue our fight for justice and freedom. It is human lives, human dignity and simply the future of our country that is at stake. We need to hold those in power accountable, we need to take every breach of the rule of law seriously, we need true international solidarity and support. We need to be bold and courageous.
I thank National Anti Crisis Management and personally Paval Latushka for organizing this timely conference and encourage all of you to have a very fruitful and successful conference and work today. Belarusians have found the courage to fight for freedom and justice and they showed to the whole world that nothing is impossible. Let’s follow their example today!
11 October 2021 в 10:00