Stop Hatred and Discrimination against Affected Belarusians Abroad!
Stop Hatred and Discrimination against Affected Belarusians Abroad!
On February 24 horrifying news broke: Russia has launched a full-scale war on Ukrainian territory. Lukashenko - whom neither the world community, nor Belarusian people recognized as legitimate president of Belarus - has been instrumental in Putin’s aggression and continues to facilitate it. Lukashenko, relying on illegally seized power and force, lends the territory of Belarus to the Russian army for military use, including to launch missiles and move military hardware to the Ukrainian territory.
People of Belarus are against the war perpetrated by Russia in Ukraine and against any military involvement of Belarus.
We, Belarusian citizens, say NO to war, NO to aggression. We stand in full solidarity with Ukrainian people in their fight for their land, their home and their lives. We endure these tragic days of hardship side by side with Ukrainian people. With our whole heart we grieve for each and every lost life. We condole with the Ukrainian people for irreparable losses, which every day of the war yields. We keep fighting against the illegitimate regime which allies itself with Russian aggression betraying the interests of Belarusian people and our sovereignty.
How Belarusians are fighting against the regime.
In August 2020 people went out to the streets to peacefully protest against rigged presidential elections, but they faced unprecedented brutal violence: flash-bang grenades, tear gas, water cannons, beatings - all deployed against peaceful protesters under direct Lukashenko’s order. Since August 2020 over 40 000 Belarusians were detained, over 5 000 politically motivated criminal cases were started, today over 1000 political prisoners are behind bars. Belarus still remains occupied by the illegitimate regime of Lukashenko who seized power against the will of people. You can read about torture in Belarus here.
Severe repressions and violence against peaceful citizens forced thousands of Belarusians to leave the country. Seeking safety and protection Belarusians flee to EU-countries (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany among others), many of which launched humanitarian visas programs, relocations, facilitating employment, scholarships, etc. to support repressed Belarusians.
Many Belarusians moved to Ukraine. According to official data provided by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, over 358.2k Belarusians entered Ukraine from September 01, 2020, till December 01, 2021 only.
How Belarusians support Ukraine.
People who stayed in Belarus under occupation of Lukashenko’s regime, despite the risk of brutal violence and tortures, went out to the streets across the country on February 27, 2022, with anti-war calls in solidarity and support for Ukraine. Over 800 people were detained during these peaceful anti-war protests.
From day one Belarusians from everywhere help by donating, acquiring and delivering medical, humanitarian and other aid to Ukraine. Belarusian activists created a platform for search of free temporary accommodation for Ukrainian refugees in different countries. Centrum Białoruskiej Solidarności in Warsaw created a map of volunteer help for Ukrainians. Belarus Solidarity Foundation BYSOL launched a web-site with information on evacuation from Ukraine and Belarus, legalization of stay and many other kinds of assistance.
From day one partisan war has started not only in Ukraine, but also in Belarus. Those who stayed in Belarus attempt to prevent movement of Russian military hardware across Belarusian territory. Cases are reported of arrests for sabotage on the railways.
Many Belarusians residents of Ukraine already joined the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, right now a Belarusian squadron is being formed in Kyiv to stand for Ukraine in arms shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainian defenders. Among those saving lives of injured in Ukraine are Belarusian doctors (Belarusian resuscitator Maxim Ocheretny, hematologist Irina Sharafanovich and many others).
Thus in word and deed we, Belarusians, prove that we are not allies with Lukashenko’s regime, we stand with Ukraine together and always.
How Belarusians face discrimination and hatred.
Due to Lukashenko’s actions dragging Belarus against people’s will into the war perpetuated by Putin, Belarusian citizens are being subject to more and more cases of violence, discriminatory actions and hatred.
Since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, all Ukrainian banks at once blocked bank accounts of Belarusian citizens, all mobile operators cut off service for Belarusian SIM-cards. Across EU-countries reports appear of Belarusian children being bullied at schools, Belarusian citizens denied services (renting apartments or being served in cafes etc.). Stories are shared of Belarusian employees being fired or denied job offers because of their passport. Cases are reported of Belarusian residents denied to even join the queues at border crossings in Ukraine.
You can read more stories of discrimination shared by Belarusians here [being updated].
This kind of hostility towards Belarusians is experienced by those part of Belarusian people who did their utmost to end Lukashenko’s regime back in 2020, suffering from tortures and violence, who oppose the idea of Belarus turning into a puppet state governed by Kremlin. People who fought for democracy in Belarus in 2020 and were forced out of their homeland are being discriminated against and hated now.
In such adverse circumstances to recognize the special vulnerability of Belarusians is a matter of human rights, safety, protection of lives in times of war.
European community, being founded today upon democratic values of respecting human rights, zero tolerance to discrimination based on nationality or any other grounds, has learned important lessons from its own history and should not allow them to be repeated.
It is crucial to support Belarusian citizens along with all those affected in our common struggle for democracy and peace in the region, national sovereignty against expansionism. It is only by standing together can we put an end to illegitimate regimes causing hatred and enmity among our people, ripping off our well-being and common European future.
We call on.
We call on all democratic community, all citizens to stand against injustice and discrimination against Belarusians who already suffered from Lukashenko’s regime and are being faced now with a new wave of prosecution and infringement of their rights. We once again voice our full and resolute support for Ukrainians fighting for their independence and call on them to stop hatred and enmity towards Belarusians who didn’t vote for the criminal regime responsible for dragging Belarus into this war causing sufferings and lost lives for thousands of innocent people.
We also call on the European and international community to take all possible actions towards ending the war in Ukraine, to support all those affected. We, Belarusian people, are committed to join these efforts and make every possible contribution to end the war.
The petition was created by the Belarussian initiative Com In and Belarussian human rights activists.