Petition Closed

We believe the IIHF should suspend its plan to hold the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus because today Belarus finds itself in the most alarming human rights crisis since the country became an independent state in 1991.

The human rights situation in the country has never been worse and continues to deteriorate.

To hold the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus would support and legitimatise a regime which violates the human rights of the people of Belarus in an alarming way.

We urge the IIHF and the representatives of the national IIHF member organisations to support the victims of human rights violations by removing the 2014 IIHF World Championship from Belarus.

 

The 2014 IIHF World Championship should only take place in Belarus after the Government of Belarus has:

- released all political prisoners unconditionally

- introduced a moratorium or abolished the death penalty

- stopped the use of violence, ill-treatment and torture against peaceful protestors and prisoners

- abolished criminal code article 193.1

- ensured the registration of independent NGOs and democratic political parties in a fair, impartial and transparent manner

- stopped the persecution, harassment and intimidation of dissidents

- fully rehabilitated all those prosecuted for political reasons

Letter to
The representatives of the national IIHF member organisations
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and its president René Fasel
In 2009 the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) decided to host the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus.

Today Belarus finds itself in the most alarming human rights crisis since the country became an independent state in 1991. The human rights situation in the country has never been worse and continues to deteriorate.

Based on information of Belarusian human rights organisations at least 11 people were sentenced for political reasons to prison terms from 2 up to 8 years at the moment. There are reports that several of the prisoners were tortured and ill-treated.

The 11 political prisoners are Ihar Alienevich, Mikalai Autukhovich, Ales Bialiatski, Dzmitry Dashkevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Eduard Lobau, Artsiom Prakapenka, Pavel Seviarynets, Mikalai Statkevich and Yauhen Vaskovich.

Belarus remains the only country in Europe that uses the death penalty. According to human rights groups, about 400 people have been executed in Belarus since 1991.

In March 2012 Uladzslau Kavalyou and Dzmitry Kanavalau had been executed. They were sentenced to death on 30 November 2011. Their trial failed to meet international fair trial standards. There are allegations that they were tortured and ill-treated in order to obtain a confession.

The human rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association are violated in Belarus everyday. The Belarusian KGB and police frequently detain and interrogate opposition activists, journalists and human rights defenders, search their appartments and offices.

A demonstration on 19 December 2010, the day of election, was brutally dispersed by riot police. More than 700 people were detained, among them 7 presidential candidates. From April to July 2011 so called “silent protests“ have taken place across Belarus. Most of these demonstrations were dispersed by the police and altogether over 1.700 participants were detained.

There are several cases of political parties and NGOs being closed or denied registration. Under article 193.1 of the Belarusian criminal code, activities on behalf of an unregistered organisation can be sentenced with up to 2 years imprisonment. Article 193.1 thus tries to ban the activities of unregistered organisations and to criminalise civil society and opposition activists.

We therefore urge the IIHF and the representatives of the national IIHF member organisations, to suspend its plan to hold the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus.

The 2014 IIHF World Championship should only take place in Belarus after the Government of Belarus has:
- released all political prisoners unconditionally
- introduced a moratorium or abolished the death penalty
- stopped the use of violence, ill-treatment and torture against peaceful protestors and prisoners
- abolished criminal code article 193.1
- ensured the registration of independent NGOs and democratic political parties in a fair, impartial and transparent manner
- stopped the persecution, harassment and intimidation of dissidents
- fully rehabilitated all those prosecuted for political reasons

To hold the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus would support and legitimatise a regime which violates the human rights of the people of Belarus in an alarming way.

As signatories of this petition we express our solidarity with the people in Belarus and urge the IIHF and the representatives of the national IIHF member organisations to support the victims of human rights violations by removing the 2014 IIHF World Championship from Belarus.


Sincerely,