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Solidarity with the Belarusian civil society

Valiantsin Stefanovic

As part of its efforts to support Belarusian defenders at risk, the OMCT in the framework of provided material assistance to Alina Stefanovic, member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and wife of detained Valiantsin Stefanovic, Deputy Head of Viasna, to support her relocation in a third country after BAJ’s offices were searched as part of the above-mentioned raids. After most of its members had to flee the repression they were facing, the OMCT also allocated an institutional grant to the International Committee for the Investigation of Torture in Belarus to enable the organisation to continue carrying out its essential human rights work from exile, in turn allowing for a very comprehensive approach to human rights defenders’ protection, and proving the interrelation of all of areas of action.

As July 2021 saw another wave of raids and detentions against Belarusian human rights defenders, including several staff of the NGO Viasna, the OMCT launched a global campaign in solidarity with civil society in Belarus, including through a joint letter that was endorsed by 161 organisations, urging the government of Belarus to end the brutal crackdown against dissenting voices and calling for the release of all detained activists in the country. The OMCT multiplied the démarches towards international stakeholders to ensure their release, included Viasna volunteer Marfa Rabkova into its #FacesOfHope campaign, published the stories of five defenders it interviewed on the occasion of the first anniversary of the presidential election and massive crackdown, participated in the joint #FreeViasna campaign and published the portraits of the seven members of Viasna still in jail on the anniversary of the crackdown.