”Open letter of the literary community of Belarus and the Union of Belarusian Writers
Minsk, Belarus – November 17, 2020
We, Belarusan literati, express our deep concern about the fact that for the last 100 days in our country there has been an ongoing escalation of violent acts on the part of power structures and government officials against citizens who participate in peaceful protests and solidarity actions.
For more than forty years, none of European states has seen such scales of mass repressions. During these 100 days, about 30,000 people have been arrested, more than 4,000 people have been mauled, about 1,000 unmotivated criminal cases have been started, and 8 people have been killed. The state ignores fundamental human rights. The state does not initiate criminal cases against those who are responsible for murdering and mauling innocent people. There are cases when detained people are tied up and then beaten, which is prohibited by world legal practices even in relation to prisoners of war. The authorities openly order to expel students from educational establishments and to fire all employees who do not support the state policy, which is a direct infringement of the current Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
The escalation of violence, the expansion of impunity, and the deprivation of the Belarusans of their basic constitutional rights will result in a deep long-term national crisis in all spheres of public life: economic default, international isolation – Belarus will fall down to the bottom of the civilizational rating.
We bow to the courage and persistence of the Belarusan nation, we present our condolences to everybody who has suffered and lost their relatives, and we address to the authorities, heads of state structures, and officials who have preserved their sober mind, with the demand: while you have not thrown the country down to the abyss of violence and all-encompassing crisis yet – immediately stop the mass repressions! stop torturing people who want changes, admit your defeat and accept the will of the people!
17 November 2020
The Secretariat of the Union of Belarusian Writers
About the Union of Belarusian Writers
We are a professional creative community of Belarusian writers. Our Union is based on the principles of freedom of speech and self-expression. We strive to protect authors’ rights and to develop, popularize, and promote Belarusian literature as an integral value for society that is essential to the existence of the Belarusian nation. Founded in 1933-34, the Union of Belarusian Writers is the oldest creative organization in Belarus. Its members include, among others, the Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and the well-known writers Uladzimir Niakliaeu, Raisa Baravikova, Uladzimir Arlou, Anatol Viarcinskі and Ales Razanau.