FIDH Launches Campaign to Support Incarcerated Human Rights Defenders

Following July’s unprecedented purge of Belarusian civil society, many of our fellow human rights defenders in Belarus are the target of politically motivated prosecution. Not despite being human rights defenders, but because of it. Now, they need your support.

  • by EECA
  • 2 August 2021

In Belarus, over 30 human rights defenders (HRDs) are behind bars facing criminal charges, while many more face other forms of persecution. Since 14 July, at least 56 non-governmental organisations have been liquidated as a result of one of the most sweeping attacks on civil society in contemporary European history. Human rights centres and their leaders—particularly FIDH’s member organisation Viasna Human Rights Centre (Viasna)—have been the primary targets of the repression.

Our colleagues from Viasna: Chairman and former FIDH Vice-President Ales Bialiatski, Deputy Chairman of Viasna and FIDH Vice-President Valiantsin Stefanovich, lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich, Coordinator of Volunteer Service Marfa Rabkova, Chairman of the Homiel Branch Leanid Sudalenka, volunteers Tatsiana Lasitsa and Andrei Chapiuk, along with other HRDs, are now incarcerated and face prosecution in politically motivated cases.

During these dark times, we call on you, our readers and followers, to help us support those facing repression as a consequence of their fight for democracy and justice in Belarus.

On this page, the names and mailing addresses of the imprisoned human rights defenders will be published. We encourage you to send them a letter of solidarity and support.

Reading and writing letters is one of the very few means of interaction with the outside world for political prisoners, including imprisoned human rights defenders, some of whom have been separated from their families for many weeks. By writing to them, we help them keep up hope despite being deprived of freedom, acknowledge their struggle, and remind them that there are people outside waiting for their release and return home.

Please write in Russian or Belarusian, otherwise letters may not pass censorship. If sending from abroad, please include the address in both English and Russian/Belarusian.

Ideally, you should send a stamp and an envelope together with a letter so that those you write to could write back: most prisoners do not have enough envelopes and especially stamps that can be mailed abroad.

All incoming and outgoing letters are read by a certain person, usually a censor. They may, at their discretion, allow the letter to pass unchanged, redact some words, phrases or pages in the letter, or have the entire letter destroyed.

Letters written in secret codes or ciphers, other conventions or jargon, as well as cynical letters and those thought to be aimed at causing harm to the government, public associations and individuals or containing information that constitutes a state or official secret will not reach recipients.

 If a person is at the stage of investigation, a criminal case should not be discussed with them.
 Don’t mention in the letters other people who may be somehow connected to the case.
 Do not use expressions in letters that may be considered extremist.
 Avoid political topics.
 Do not use obscene language, abbreviations or foreign words.
 Avoid various allegorical or metaphorical expressions: they can be interpreted as an encrypted message or instruction to do something.

Viasna HRC published a detailed guide with further rules and advice on writing letters to the Belarusian prisons and detention centres from abroad. This guide is available here.

We also strongly support the project Politzek.me which provides an opportunity to befriend political prisoners. The project is available in English and Russian.

Write to human rights activists

 Aliaksandr (Ales) Bialiatski
 Valiantsin Stefanovic
 Uladzimir Labkovich
 Marfa Rabkova
 Andrei Chapiuk
 Maksim Znak

using the following address:

Pre-trial detention center No. 1.
220030, Minsk,
ulitsa Volodarskogo, 2
Belarus

СИЗО-1.
220030, г. Минск,
ул. Володарского, 2
Республика Беларусь

Write to human rights activists

 Leanid Sudalenka
 Tatsiana Lasitsa

using the following address:

Pre-trial detention center No. 3.
246003, Gomel,
ulitsa Knizhnaya, 1A
Belarus

СИЗО-3.
246003, г. Гомель,
ул. Книжная, 1А
Республика Беларусь

Write to journalists

 Liudmila Chekina
 Iryna Rybalka
 Maryna Zolatava
 Volha Loika
 Alena Talkachova
 Yahor Martsinovich
 Andrei Skurko
 Andrei Aliaksandrau
 Dzmitry Navazhylau
 Iryna Leushyna

using the following address:

Pre-trial detention center No. 1.
220030, Minsk,
ulitsa Volodarskogo, 2
Belarus

СИЗО-1.
220030, г. Минск,
ул. Володарского, 2
Республика Беларусь

Write to journalists

 Katsiaryna Bakhvalava
 Darya Chultsova

using the following address:

Penal colony No. 4.
246035, Gomel,
ulitsa Antoshkina, 3
Belarus

ИК №4.
246035, г. Гомель,
ул. Антошкина, 3
Республика Беларусь