The Hague, 10th September 2020
One month after the presidential elections in Belarus, large-scale women-led protests in Minsk continue. As of September 9, 2020, more than 10.000 demonstrators have been arrested and seven people killed during the popular protests. Women, students and the LGBTQI community have become particularly active in the mass protests. Belarusian women – citizens participating in, and initiating the protests, as well as the women-led opposition – have become one of the symbols of the popular movement.
After Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the opposition’s presidential ex-candidate, fled to neighbouring Lithuania, Marya Kalesnikava, a member of the Coordination Council and an active supporter of Tsikhanouskaya, became a prominent figure in the mass-scale protests in Minsk. On Monday, September 07, 2020, Kalesnikava was reportedly detained after refusing to leave Belarus for Ukraine. She was missing for two days, and is now under arrest. In recognition of this grave violation, many human rights organizations and foreign authorities reiterated their support of the Belarusian opposition.
As of today, the freedom of nearly all the members of the Coordination Council has been violated: only one member remains free, the Nobel laureate Sviatlana Alexievich who continues her human rights advocacy. Following the disappearance of Kalesnikava, women, mothers and children went to the streets of Minsk for a solidarity protest to express their support. Many were brutally detained. Before the disappearance, Kalesnikava together with the ex-presidential candidate Viktor Babariko announced their plans to establish a political party.
Despite the persisting infringements of human rights, the women’s movement shows resilience. Gender Concerns International expresses its solidarity with the people and commends the courage of women in Belarus. Organisation urges International Community to address the urgency of the situation and engage all actors of change in a dialogue.
Gender Concerns International supports the Belarusian women`s determination in the advocacy against the denial of their political and electoral rights.
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Gender Concerns International
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Gender Concerns International is an international gender and development organization with its headquarters in The Hague and offices in several focus countries. It specializes working in the areas of Women, Peace and Security, Climate Change and Election Observation from Gender Perspective.