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Brussels, 25 January 2012
Belarus: Commissioner Füle with the activists of Viasna and FIDH
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met Vice-President of the Belarusian Human Rights Centre “Viasna” Valiantin Stefanovic to discuss the situation of human rights activists in Belarus.
Mr Füle reiterated his support for the courageous work of human rights defenders in Belarus who under increasingly difficult conditions are at the forefront of the defence of democratic principles and human rights. In this context, the Commissioner expressed his concerns about the ongoing politically motivated targeting of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”.
Their meeting took place after the Minsk City Court rejected the cassation appeal of renowned human rights defender and President of “Viasna” and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced on 24 November 2011 on politically motivated grounds as a consequence of his work to the benefit of victims of repression.
Commissioner Füle expressed his deep concern over this decision and reiterated the EU’s call on Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr Bialiatski and to drop the charges against him and against his deputy Valiantsin Stefanovic.
Commissioner Füle also repeated his personal commitment to strengthen the engagement with Belarusian civil society and with those in Belarus who support reform and modernization, and to work together to bring the country back into the European family of democratic nations.”