21 January 2018, Sunday, 3:47

Ales Bialiatski: Don't lose optimism (Video)


August 4 is the day of solidarity with civil society and human rights movement of Belarus.

It is held on the day when human rights activist and former political prisoner Ales Bialiatski was arrested.

The coalition of NGOs of different countries started to mark this day in 2012 to demonstrate solidarity with civic forces of Belarus and show moral support to human rights and civic activists in the country, Viasna human rights centre writes.

“Solidarity of colleagues and unfamiliar people who supported us with their letters or through public actions, pickets, meetings with embassies and so on, means very much for all political prisoners, including myself,” Ales Bialiatski says in an interview with the initiator of the Solidarity Day.

Calling on the international community to further support Belarusian civil society, the human rights defender says the current situation of NGOs in the country remains difficult. He stresses many organisations work without registration, which is considered to be a criminal offence.

Ales Bialiatski lay hopes on youth initiatives. “Youth initiatives, often informal ones, that work for culture, environment and human rights protection are new trends that has emerged over the time, while I was in prison. And I very much hope that these initiatives will develop, strengthen and intensify the Belarusian civil society,” he says.

Ales Bialiatski thanked for solidarity and called on the initiators of the Solidarity Day and their supporters not to lose optimism.

Ales Bialiatski, the head of Viasna human rights centre and the vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), was arrested on August 4, 2011. He spent almost three years in prison for his human rights activity. The EU, the US and international human rights organisations demanded the Belarusian authorities release the prisoner of conscience.