Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: diplomatic missions and the UN must have access to those on hunger strike

“Today, there are 274 internationally recognized political prisoners in Belarus. The regime hoped to silence their voices by putting them behind bars. But even in their prison cells, those brave Belarusians speak against total injustice. To be seen and heard, they go on a hunger strike. To remind the world about the atrocities of the regime, they put their lives in danger. 

Ihar Losik slit his wrists to protest against his new verdict. 

Natallia Hersche went on a hunger strike after she stopped receiving letters from her family. 

Siarhei Piatrukhin tried to slit his wrists to avoid being put in a cell with unsanitary conditions. 

Dzmitry Furmanau is handcuffed while walking or sending letters. 

Ihar Bantser is on a dry hunger strike, refusing food and water.

Dear Ihar, Natallia, Siarhei, Dzmitry, Ihar, please stop the hunger strike. Your life is the most precious thing for Belarus, people close to you, your parents, your children. 

My team and I will make everything possible to approach the day when you can walk freely with your loved ones in a new Belarus. 

As early as next week, the UN will launch a special mechanism to bring those responsible for illegal detentions and sentences to justice.

Belarusian prison authorities, we require you to respect all the requests of illegally convicted and detained. 

We insist that the representatives of diplomatic missions and ambassadors shall be allowed into prisons to support illegally detained and convicted.

We demand that Special Rapporteur Anais Marin be allowed to come to Belarus.

We appeal to the UN to create a special mechanism to bring to justice those responsible for illegal detentions and sentences.

We will keep reminding the world every day about the heroes of a new Belarus who are held behind bars. Brave Belarusians shall not suffer for their values and convictions. Only with your support we can stand up against the inhuman treatment and protect those fragile human lives. Only with your support, we can speak up for those whom the system wants to silence. Only with your support we can make their voice heard again in a new free and fair election”.