Welcome to the latest newsletter of “Our House” for25.06-12.07.2022 (Belarus).
“Our House” is a Belarusian non-governmental human rights organisation Our aim is to actively and comprehensively defend human rights and support the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, with a particular focus on women and children, who are easy victims of human rights abuses under repressive regimes, as well as support refugees fleeing terror, violence and war. We try to fill voids and gaps in the human rights area that are not covered by our colleagues from other human rights organisations.
In the new newsletter, you will read more about our “NO means NO” campaign and children’s rights issues in Belarus, find out what events Our House is preparing for, and learn about the details of the criminal case for round dancing in Brest in a new series of monitoring.
If you have any further questions, we are happy to answer them.
We have not been with you for two weeks… but it has NOT been a holiday at all! We have started an internal reform of Our House in order to be able to respond to the serious challenges facing both our team and the entire Belarusian civil society today.
“NO MEANS NO” CAMPAIGN
The “NO means NO” campaign aims to support and assist Belarusian conscientious objectors and deserters who do not want to fight on the side of the dictatorial regimes of Putin and Lukashenka, as well as to inform society about what is happening in the Belarusian army. The campaign started on 1 March 2022.
- Within the framework of our campaign “NO means NO” the article “Youngsters to the slaughter: Will Lukashenka send conscripts to the war for Putin?” was published, where monitoring of the military conscription situation in Belarus for the period from February to June 2022 was presented
Since February 24, 2022, when the active phase of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine began, thousands of men of conscription age in Belarus, and even those who have already served in the army, have found themselves in a difficult situation. They have to choose between staying in the country and possibly being drawn into the war on the side of the aggressor, or leaving Belarus but becoming a conscientious objector or a deserter at the very least. Read the story at https://news.house/44461
- The “NO means NO” campaign covers all our social networks!
Olga Karach’s video appealing to Belarusian men not to join the army gets more than 500,000 views on TikTok and goes viral. Read the story at https://news.house/44501
- The war had a major impact on the legal position of Belarusians. This has particularly affected visa issues for those who are trying to leave or have already left Belarus because they do not want to fight on the side of dictatorships. This is the subject of our “Monitoring on the Issue of Visas for Belarusians: the Impact of the War in Ukraine”.
Due to the start of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, the number of citizens of the Republic of Belarus applying for visas to the Republic of Poland and other countries has increased dramatically. Moreover, this applies to both humanitarian and work visas. But it is Poland that is the most in-demand country in terms of visa requests, because there are jobs for Belarusians in Poland and the Polish language is very understandable for those who know the Belarusian language. Read the material at the link – https://news.house/44488
CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ARE OUR PRIORITY
The problem of protecting children’s rights is constantly raised by “Our House” both in its materials and at meetings and presentations to various international organisations. . It has been particularly critical in the last two years, since the August 2020 elections, which were accompanied by numerous protests, repression and violence by the Lukashenka regime.
- Olga Karach: Investigations into Violations of Children Rights in Belarus Should Be a Priority
On July 7, 2022 the head of “Our House” Volha Karach together with a number of international human rights activists spoke at the European Parliament on the human rights situation in Belarus. The speech of Volha Karach was devoted to mass violations of children’s rights in Belarus. Read the story at https://news.house/44475
- A horrible incident in Minsk – a law enforcement officer shot a child: a criminal case has been opened against the boy!
After the elections 2020, Lukashenka allowed the security forces to do literally everything: to break into flats, to beat people in the streets, to carry weapons, to shoot people. Impunity has untied their hands, because no law enforcement officer will be punished for any crime against an ordinary citizen. Not even for an attack on a child’s life. On June 21, 2022 in Minsk an employee of “GUBOPiK” (General Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption) Andrey Parshin shot and wounded a 16-year-old boy – but the criminal case was opened against the child. Read the story at the link – https://news.house/44482
- 3. Monitoring of repressions against minors in connection with protests against the Lukashenka’s regime
According to the data of the MIA of Belarus for the date of January 29, 2021, more than 1200 teenagers participated in protest actions in 2020 after the presidential elections of August, 9 in Belarus. At least 11 minors became defendants in the criminal cases were launched in 2020 in Belarus related to the protest and electoral campaign. Read the story at the link – https://news.house/lib/browse/monitoring-of-repressions-against-minors-in-connection-with-protests-against-the-lukashenkas-regime
ROUND DANCING AND FREEDOM – WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE KUPALA NIGHT AND THE HIGH-PROFILE CRIMINAL CASE IN BREST FOR ROUND DANCING?
Why is Our House organising a Kupala Night Holiday Concert? In this way, we want to remind you of what is happening in Belarus!
The “round dance” case in Brest has become one of the biggest political cases in Belarus, in which around 1000 people were arrested. Belarusians have used various forms of protest since August 2020. Unfortunately, most of them brought their participants to the dock. Round dances are not a criminal offence in Lithuania, so we decided to give Belarusians and Ukrainians a chance to have fun dancing Ukrainian and Belarussian round dances, and not be afraid of being arrested in the process.
- 244 years of penal punishment for a peaceful round dance and songs in Belarus. 130 people have already been affected
The “Round Dance Case” in Brest is one of the biggest politically motivated criminal cases in Belarus. Since August, 2020, Belarusians have been using various form of protest. Unfortunately, most of them brought their participants to the dock. Read the story at the link – https://news.house/44385
- Kupala Night with “Our House”
On the night of 8 to 9 July, many Belarusians in Vilnius took part in a Kupala Night to show our solidarity. The programme included burning of effigies of various monsters: Lukashenka, Putin, etc., purification by fire, order of evil spirits, ritual farewell to the Sun and spectacles; playgrounds and playgrounds; dancing and singing; wreath-weaving and fortune-telling on the dome; festive dinner and finding fern flowers and meeting the Sun. Read more at https://news.house/event/browse/kupala https://de.news.house/events/kupala
- We would like to remind you how “Our House” has been involved in the cultural life of Belarus
Throughout the years of its activity, “Our House” has not only been rescuing repressed Belarusians, monitoring the situation of persecution and cooperating with international organizations. We have also tried to be involved in many spheres, including culture. We have produced books, organised cultural events, covered concerts and written about book novelties. Today we will tell you how “Our House” has been involved in the cultural life of Belarus.
Read the story at https://news.house/42544
FORUM FOR DEMOCRATIC FORCES IN BELARUS
At the beginning of this week, “Our House” leader Olga Karach and representatives of our organisation travelled to Berlin for the Second Forum of Democratic Forces in Belarus.
On 11 – 12 July, the II Forum of Democratic Forces of Belarus was held in Berlin. The Forum was attended by politicians, representatives of civil society, science, business, expert community, and diaspora, regardless of citizenship, political views, religious beliefs, or social status. The agenda of the Forum included open discussions on political prisoners, sanctions, media support and civil society. There was also a separate discussion on the topic of economic reforms for Belarus.
At the Second Forum of the Democratic Forces participation was confirmed by:
Rainer Lindner, Chairman of German-Belarusian Society (1997-2019), founder of Minsk Forum
Michael Harms, Executive director, Eastern Committee of German Economy
Vyacheslav Inozemtsev, Economist, Director of Centre for Postindustrial Society Studies
Sergey Guriev, Professor of Economics, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)
Daniel Kruttsinna, investment consultant,
Juozas Olekas, Chairman of the Belarus Group in the European Parliament,
Kamil Klysinski, Expert of the Centre for Eastern Studies, Poland
Ruslan Rokhov, Managing Partner, PGR Consulting Group LLC, Ukraine,
Jason J. Smart, American political technologist and political expert,
Josef Hrabina, chief analyst of the Council of Slovak Exporters, and others.
Read the story at https://news.house/44451
You can also read the news on our website: https://news.house
Or on your Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Our-House-104449398344141
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