25 March 2019, Monday, 17:51
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We, Human Rights Defenders, Remain At Forefront

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LEANID SUDALENKA
PHOTO: RADIO LIBERTY

Homel human rights activist has been awarded the prize “Freedom-Equality-Brotherhood” in Paris.

Today in Paris, Homel resident Leanid Sudalenka has become the first of the Belarusian human rights defenders to receive the human rights award “Freedom - Equality - Brotherhood” of the French Republic. The prize is awarded annually for contribution to the protection of human rights.

The human rights activist has sent the full text of his speech at the award to the Charter97.org. We are offering it for your attention:

- It is a great honor for me to be here and receive the human rights award of the French Republic!

In my country, together with my colleagues in a non-governmental association, we are systematically working to protect the rights of citizens, both at the national and international levels. I cooperate with the national human rights center “Viasna”, which is a member of the International Federation for Human Rights in Paris.

Unfortunately, the situation with human rights in my country has not changed for the better for a long time. I also have to admit that my country remains the only one in Europe that applies the death penalty.

With great regret, I state that my country also remains the only one in Europe the citizens of which are deprived of the opportunity to defend their rights in the European Court of Human Rights.

The UN system for the protection of human rights does not fully function in my country - the Belarusian government does not recognize and does not execute the decisions made here on complaints of Belarusian citizens.

Today, in my country, criminal repressions continue against leaders of the independent trade union REP; foreign journalists working for foreign media are constantly persecuted with large administrative sanctions; and about half a million people who have lost their jobs have been taxed by the government which plans to extort money from them for the payment for the utility services next year . All of the above has already led and may lead again to mass protests!

We, the human rights defenders, remain at the forefront of these events. We plan to continue to fight in our own country for the right of everyone to express opinions and peaceful assemblies, which are the cornerstone of any democratic country.

Protecting the rights of other people for me and my colleagues has become the most important, most saturated meaning and work of our life. Today, on the anniversary of the UDHR, I declare that we intend to continue this work further on, working on reforming our state. Thanks!

We remind, that Leanid Sudalenka became the winner of the Charter’97 Prize for 2017 in the nomination “For Personal Courage”.