Human rights activists from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are detained in Minsk. Two Russians Must Leave Belarus in 24 Hours

4 May 2011--Today at approximately 18.30pm [Minsk], officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus have thwarted the presentation of the an independent report prepared by an independent expert group led by Mr Neil Jarman, the Special Rapporteur of the Committee on International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus. The objectives of the report were limited to an impartial assessment of the events which took place on 19 December 2010, including civic protests on Independence Square, ensuing arrests and detentions, without analysis of the implementation and results of the Presidential elections.

Half an hour before the presentation of the report, Belarusian immigration serves along with officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs arrived at the offices of the Human Rights Centre "Viasna", where the presentation was to take place. They justified their visit with allegations that several individuals were seen carrying “boxes” into the office. This was a cause enough to check the office for any potential explosives. Once the alleged "bomb" was not found, the officials requested that all present, including representatives of the International Observation Mission and Russian citizens Ms. Victoria Gromova and Lubov Zakharova, go to the Pervomayskoye Police Department.

 

While some defenders of the International Observation Mission were being taken to the police station, others organized an impromptu presentation of the report for journalists on the street near the “Viasna” offices. The report [which …you may want to tell a bit about the contents of the report here, in a sentence] was presented by Mr. Yuri Dzhibladze, President of the Moscow based Center for Democracy and Human Rights, and a member of the Presidential Council for the Promotion of Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights, Mr. Alexander Mnakatsanyan, A Russia-based representative of the International Observation Mission and member of Board of Directors of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, and an independent expert of the Mission, Mr. Vladimir Chemerys (Ukraine). After the presentation, those present were requested to go to the police station as well.

 

"The report was prepared by an independent expert group led by Neil Jarman. The International Observation Mission had high hopes for this report, "- commented Head of the International Observation Mission, Mr. Andrei Yurov. - "It is clear that the value of the report also has been assessed not only by journalists and human rights activists, but also by government officials, as evidenced by such a sudden and harsh reaction to the presentation thereof" - summed up the defender.

 

Currently, Ms. Gromova and Mr. Mnakatsanyan remain in detention and were told that “they should leave Belarus in 24 hours”, while others have been released without any charges.

 

For further information:

Mr. Neil Jarman was appointed Special Rapporteur of the Committee on International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus. Mr. Jarman is independent international expert, director of the Institute for the Study of Conflict (Northern Ireland), head of the OSCE group of experts on freedom of assembly. The Special Rapporteur is leading a working group of experts from the OSCE region on issues of freedom of assembly, and measures of police response, which include Mr. Michael Hamilton (head of the group, a law professor at the Central European University, Budapest), Mr.Yuri Dzhibladze (Russia), Mr. Sergei Dickman (Russia), and Mr. Vladimir Chemerys (Ukraine).

The International Observation Mission was set up by the Committee of International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus, which unites representatives of human rights organizations across the OSCE region and international civic networks and organizations, to monitor the overall situation with the observance of fundamental freedoms and human rights in Belarus, as well as the protection of human rights in professional activities.

Site of the  Committee and the Mission - http://hrwatch-by.org.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/IOMission

Contact information:

+38 (097) 961-73-46 - Kiev Information Center Committee

+7-915-547-65-87 - Maria Gordeeva, Committee of International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus

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