Free Uladzimir Matskevich and all political prisoners in Belarus!

Free Uladzimir Matskevich and all political prisoners in Belarus!

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Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum started this petition to Belarusian authorities and


Release Uladzimir Matskevich and all political detainees and prisoners in Belarus!

Against the backdrop of the heightened political repression and unprecedented attacks against civil society in Belarus, several civil society activists have been arrested. Among them, four members of EuroBelarus, Ulad Vialichka, Uladzimir Matskevich, Tatsiana Vadalazhskaya and Oksana Shelest.

Uladzimir is being held in prison alongside more than 800 political prisoners in Belarus, including civil society activists, human rights defenders, and journalists. On 18 August 2021, Matskevich was charged with "organising actions that grossly violate public order" (Art. 342 of the Criminal Code). Ulad, Oksana and Tatsiana have been released in the meantime. We continue to call for Uladzimir Matskevich's release and the release of all other political prisoners.

Take action now and demand the immediate release of Uladzimir Matskevich and all other political prisoners!

Uladzimir Matskevich, philosopher and political writer, who contributed to the creation of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in the early stages of the EaP policy and advocated for the participation of the National Platforms in the multilateral track of the policy. He is also the founder of the EaP CSF Belarusian National Platform. Uladzimir has been at the forefront of many recent breakthrough initiatives of the Belarusian civil society: Charter 97, the "Flying University" (Лятучы ўніверсітэт), the International Consortium "EuroBelarus", and the social movement promoting the independence of Belarus "Fresh Wind" (Свежы вецер).

Two other members of EuroBelarus, namely Tatsiana Vadalazhskaya, sociologist and Flying University coordinator, and Oksana Shelest, sociologist and manager of research projects at the Flying University, have also been arrested on 4 August 2021. Oksana Shelest was released late at night the same day on a non-disclosure agreement and Tatiana Vadalazhskaya was released after spending 10 days in detention. Uladzimir Matskevich is being held in the pre-trial detention center No. 1. on Valadarskaha street on fabricated and politically motivated charges - something every targeted civil society activist or organisation are faced with.

This extremely preoccupying situation calls for urgent response from all stakeholders. Without any end in sight for the spiral of violence Belarusian authorities are caught in, there will only be further destruction - and the regime has shown national borders will not stop them. 

We, the undersigned, call on:

  • The Belarusian authorities to immediately release all unlawfully detained civil society activists, human rights defenders and journalists, including Uladzimir Matskevich; pending his release, he should be protected from torture, and any inhuman or degrading treatment, and should have unconditional access to justice, legal, and medical assistance;
  • The Belarusian authorities to put an end to the state-sponsored purge of  the civil society systematically pursued since August 2020 and to stop the illegal arrests and searches targeting activists and free thinkers like Uladzimir Matskevich and many others;
  • The international community to promptly and severely sanction and stand up against the multiple and incessant human rights and international law violations committed by Lukashenka’s regime;
  • EU member states to ensure political exiles have simplified access to political asylum and the capacity to safely conduct their activities from there;
  • The EU to keep funding and supporting initiatives led by and involving the Belarusian civil society, thus securing one of the last few ties the Union has with Belarus while upholding EU norms and values;
  • To the EU, EaP and international NGO community to stand by the Belarusian civil society cause, advocate against the shrinking space for civil society in Belarus and endorse the calls for immediate release of activists from unjust imprisonment.



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