Over the past 12 months, an unprecedented wave of searches and detentions has been targeting independent cultural and human rights organizations in Belarus. On 14 July the Directorate ‘Combating Organized Crime and Corruption’ of the Belarusian Ministry of the Interior conducted a nationwide ‘radical cleansing’ operation against independent associations of writers, journalists, cultural workers and human rights organisations, including the Union of Belarusian Writers (https://lit-bel NULL.org/information-in-english/) and PEN Belarus (https://pen-centre NULL.by/en). Other organisations under attack include the Association of Belarusian Journalists, the independent academic research centre BEROC and Viasna, the human rights organisation defending political prisoners.
On 14 July the Union of Belarusian Writers (UBW) was raided, and equipment and dcouments confiscated. The Chair of the independent Union of Belariusian Writers, Baryx Piatrovich, has been banned from leaving the country and is currently living under house arrest. His telephone has been confiscated, and he has been forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This means that he would face a penalty if he spoke publicly about the indiscriminate proceedings against the Writers’ Union. In 2020 590 authors, artists and cultural workers, including translators, have been attacked and subjected to psychological and physical cruelty in Belarusian prisons.
CEATL joins the EWC (https://europeanwriterscouncil NULL.eu/) (European Writers’ Council) in condemning these measures by the Belarusian government in the strongest possible terms, and in calling on the European Community to act immediately for the people and the democracy movement in Belarus, and ask all cultural workers to unite in support of democracy and human rights in Belarus.
For more information, click here (https://www NULL.amnesty NULL.org/en/latest/campaigns/2021/01/stand-with-belarus/) and here (https://europeanwriterscouncil NULL.eu/justice-for-ubw-and-pen-belarus/).