Dear friends, my name is Irina Hliabovich, I am a lawyer who works with a variety of international organizations. Below you can find names of individuals and organizations you can contact, as well as some examples and suggestions of such letters. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.
- It is important to be clear and precise.
- Formatting – please spell check the name and title of the person to whom you are writing as well as your own name, date, and signature.
- Content – concise (1-2 pages), polite, and make sure there are no spelling errors.
- Language – English is preferred, but Russian and Belarusian are also suitable if you are writing to Belarusian Embassy or UN Special Rapporteur.
- Facts – please restrain from the emotional description of events that you or your loved ones witnessed. Diplomats already have a broad picture of all events, therefore please focus on specific details of what happened in your specific case.
- Demands – immediate end of all violence against peaceful protestors on the streets, release of all political prisoners, sanctions towards all individuals responsible for the election fraud and repressions against the civil society, official announcement that elections on August 9th, 2020 were fraudulent, and demand for new fair elections.
Any relevant information from individuals, your district, and organization or company you are working for can be shared with Embassies. Typically, an Embassy collects all information they received and share it with their Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make recommendations. One example prepared by Irina Hliabovich from her district is shared here https://bit.ly/2DSUrBh.
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.
Belarus is one of a few countries in the world that has a dedicated Special Rapporteur in UN, which is very useful as this person is familiar with the situation. Therefore, you can share any relevant information about events. One example prepared by Irina Hliabovich can be found here:
Contact information: UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Ms. Anais Marin, firstname.lastname@example.org
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
OSCE did not observe the presidential election after the Belarusian authorities failed to issue a timely initiation and it is likely that the organization will not recognize election results. Of relevance to the organization are copies of voting protocols and results, descriptions of the voting process experienced by individuals, friends, family, and districts. Importantly, indicate all voting violations documented by you.
Contact information: Katarzyna Gardapkhadze, First Deputy Director of ODIHR OSCE, email@example.com
So far, EU reacted very quickly and issued an important, timely statement: https://bit.ly/31OTFgG. If you are writing from Belarus, it is recommended to write to the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus (same recommendations as to Embassies, please see above).
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. If you use Twitter, you can also try to tag Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs (@JosepBorrellF, https://twitter.com/JosepBorrellF) and Charles Michel, President of the European Council (@eucopresident, https://twitter.com/eucopresident)
If your primary residence is outside of Belarus, additionally you can contact:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country of your residence.
Please address your letter stating that you are a citizen of Belarus who currently resides in this country, or as a citizen of a country and explain that you are concerned about the situation in Belarus and demand actions. If election exit polls from your country do not match with data shared by Belarusian embassy, you can ask Ministry to react to this discrepancy.
European Union Commissioner of your country (if you reside in EU).
European Council is a collective body that defines the European Union's overall political direction and priorities. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. Therefore, please contact the representative of the EU country in which you reside and address your request to a Commissioner nominated by your country of residence. You should be able to find your country’s websites easily online[DO1] . In your letter, it’s important to demand sanctions towards all individuals responsible for the election fraud and repressions against the civil society
Member of the European Parliament.
They don’t make main decisions as does European Council described above, however, there are many of them (>700 people), and you can contact any member, not only a member from your country of residence. Demand an adaptation of a resolution on Belarus suggested by EU
We encourage to file individual claims (especially from lawyers) to The United Nations Human Rights Council. However, to make such a claim you have to have detailed documentation of all violations, including pictures and videos of events. You have to file the same claim on a regional level in Belarus, without it, your claim will not be accepted.
International Criminal Court doesn’t accept individual claims. Information collected from groups and processed by lawyers specializing in such cases can be filed later. However, in order to file such claims, detailed documentation of individual cases have to be collected, so for now documentation of individual cases should be a priority
Additionally, The Guardian is collecting statements about the Belarussian election from individuals and organizations https://bit.ly/2DD5FKt.
We believe in democracy and freedom for all Belarusian,