The annual National Award for the protection of Human Rights was presented in Minsk by the website Charter97.org.
In Minsk, the annual National Award for the protection of Human Rights named after Viktar Ivashkevich was presented by the website Charter97.org. This year's laureates were Brest bloggers Siarhei Piatrukhin and Aliaksandr Kabanau, the mother of the murdered soldier Aliaksandr Korzhych Sviatlana Korzhych, and activist, defender of Kurapaty Leanid Kulakou.
Brest blogger Siarhei Piatrukhin has said the following to Radio Racyja:
- This award is unexpected and very pleasant for me. I would like my children to live in a country where the Constitution is respected, where people smile and there’s nothing to fear. And where, most importantly, the legislation is properly observed.
- It is illustrative that in such quiet city as Brest once used to be, hundreds of people come to the square with no fear.
- These people, who were the initiators of the protest, said that this is not politics, we just want to breathe fresh air. But soon they realized that in our country everything is politics. They saw the true colours of this power and its real attitude to the people. They see that 40,000 signatures have been collected, and the authorities reject them. They see people being detained simply because they want to live safely, breathe fresh air. And a lot of people, because of this, saw the truth about the Belarusian reality. And now in Brest there is a community of smart people who, when the fight against the plant is over, will not be able to stop and will continue to work for the society.
According to one of the laureates, social activist and blogger from Biaroza Aliaksandr Kabanau, who covers the problems of building a battery plant near Brest, the award is not only honors for his work, but also a real support in the struggle for the rights of citizens:
- The very fact that there is repression, a criminal case has been started against me is an indication that we are doing everything correctly. The authorities are putting constant pressure on us, and it’s hard in terms of psychology, but you get used to everything. However, when there’s only pressure and repression, a person is very easy to break. The award gives strength and support, moral support, so that not to break down, not to give up.
- And the best reward will be if Belarus establishes such power and such relations within the society that there will be no need for the citizens to sacrifice themselves, their health and freedom, to defend justice, human rights and freedoms, and this will be done by the law, - the defender of Kurapaty Leanid Kulakou said.