Time: 25 February 2020; 12:00-13:30 CET
Place: Click here
Organized by: The Norwegian Helsinki Committee in cooperation with the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the OSCE, and with the participation of the Delegation of the Republic of Lithuania and the Norwegian Member of the OSCE PA, Åsmund Aukrust.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee invites you to attend a side event on countering impunity for crimes against members of political opposition, human rights defenders, journalists, trade union representatives, and the wider public in the ongoing repressive campaigns in Belarus and Russia. The side event will take place online during the lunch break of the second day of the 2021 Winter Session of the OSCE PA. There will be two panels at the event.
The panel on Belarus includes:
- Mrs Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, politician and human rights activist, Belarus
- Mrs Berit Lindeman, Head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia Section, Norwegian Helsinki Committee
- Mr Aleksandr Dabravolski, Member of the Coordination Council of Belarus.
- Mr Franak Viacorka, Senior Adviser to Sviatlana Tsikhanoskaya
The Panel on Russia includes:
- Vladimir Kara-Murza, Chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom
- Vladimir Ashurkov, Executive Manager, Anti-Corruption Foundation
- Bill Browder, Head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign.
Head of the Lithuanian delegation to the OSCE PA, Ms Vilija Aleknaitė-Abramikienė will introduce the event, while Åsmund Aukrust, member of the Norwegian delegation to the OSCE PA will provide concluding remarks. The event is moderated by Gunnar M. Ekelove-Slydal, Director of Policies at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
There will be q&a with the audience. Ever since the 9 August 2020 Presidential Eelections in Belarus, where Alexander Lukashenko according to official results received a dubious 80 % of the votes, and the opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya received an unlikely 10 %, unprecedented protests against election fraud and the illegitimate rule of the Lukashenko regime have been ongoing. Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya and the Coordination Council set up by the opposition has gained increasing international recognition as legitimate representatives of the Belarusian people.
However, rather than engaging in dialogue with the opposition on democratic transition, authorities engaged in heavy-handed repression, imprisoning and abusing thousands of members of the country’s brave democracy movement, as well as peaceful protesters and thoise supporting them, human righs defenders, journalists and other media actors. In Russia, similar repressive methods are being applied against those who take to the streets to protest the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner. Protests in cities all over Russia have been violently broken up by police, and peaceful protesters have been brutally attacked and detained in inhuman conditions.
The impunity for such crimes in Russia has already become a very unfortunate tradition, with those responsible for past killings of Boris Nemtsov, Sergei Magnitsky and other prominent pro-democracy figures remain outside justice. The participants at the panel discussion will give an overview of the current situation in these two countries and propose ways that international organizations and the wider international community can address the extensive impunity problem for crimes committed against the opposition and members of the wider democracy movement.
There will be a focus on proposing measures and ideas on how the OSCE and its Participating States can deal with the issue of impunity.