ODIHR Director calls on Belarus to uphold rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in protests
WARSAW, 17 March 2017 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today expressed concern over the reported fining and detention of dozens of protestors and human rights activists in Belarus over the last week for their participation in peaceful public assemblies.
“The widely reported fines against and even jailing of demonstrators and organizers appears to be an excessive restriction of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” said Director Link. “I call on the authorities of Belarus to ensure that any sanctions or penalties are proportionate to any actual misconduct, and are not used to stifle legitimate dissent and the right to freedom of expression.”
The ODIHR Director continued: “Moving forward, authorities preparing for large-scale protests against the so-called ‘parasite tax’, reportedly planned to be held on 25 March in Minsk, should do their utmost to facilitate all peaceful demonstrations, and in case of incidents respond in line with their human rights obligations.”