Letter To Senators or Representatives In Support Of Belarus

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Step-by-step instructions and a letter template to reach out to senators and/or representatives. Write to your senators and help highlight urgency around the problem. We're helping create a list of people to impose sanctions on, however, you can send this letter already.


Файл с инструкциями и примером письма на английском и русском языках.


Step 1. Please find the details for your Representative or your Senators representing your state by going to the following steps:


Representatives

- Go to https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

- Type in your zip code in “Enter your ZIP code” field and press “Find your Rep by Zip”

- Click on the email icon

- Fill out the form with your contact information, your address, and your email

- Under “Issues your email relates to” or “Topic” select or type in “Human Rights” or “Foreign Affairs”. If there is a Subject line, please use “Letter in Support of Belarus”

- Copy-paste the letter (see the letter below), fill in Name of the Representative, Signatory Name (your first and last name)

- Click ‘Submit’


Senators

- Go to https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

- Under “Choose a State”, please select your state

- Click on “Contact Senator” link under Senators representing your state

- Under “Issues your email relates to” or “Topic” select or type in “Human Rights” or “Foreign Affairs”. If there is a Subject line, please use “Letter in Support of Belarus”

- Copy-paste the letter (see the letter below), fill in Name of the Senator, Signatory Name (your first and last name)

- Click ‘Submit’


Please use a long version of the petition if there is no character limit, if you are required to submit a petition with a character limit (typically <3,000 characters), please use a short petition version.


Step 2. If you are not an American citizen (can be a resident /green card holder or a citizen of another country), please delete “As a concerned constituent” at the beginning of the petition and contact the following Senators are co-sponsors of the most recent resolutions on Belarus. Therefore, they will be aware of the current situation in Belarus and are more likely to take action:


o Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD]

o Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL]

o Sen. Shaheen, Jeanne [D-NH]

o Sen. Leahy, Patrick J. [D-VT]

o Sen. Markey, Edward J. [D-MA]

o Sen. Udall, Tom [D-NM]

o Sen. Young, Todd [R-IN]

Step 3. Optional (but very helpful): Once the forms have been submitted, please send an email to democracyforbelarus@gmail.com with the name of the representative or the Senator you have submitted the form to so we can track your submission. No other personal information is required.

Step 4. If you have technical difficulties and require assistance, please send an email to democracyforbelarus@gmail.com in English, Russian or Belarusian and we will get back to you within 24 hours. Please include your country of residence (state if in the US).

Step 5. Thank you for joining us in supporting free and fair elections and continued growth of democratic movements and institutions in Belarus! Please share this form as well as the letters with your friends and partners.

Letter for Submission – Long Form


Dear [Senator____ / Representative ____],

As a concerned constituent, I am seeking the support of the United States government in light of the recent human rights crisis and significant deterioration of the political situation in Belarus. I appreciate the U.S. support to date along with the recent acknowledgement that the presidential election in Belarus was neither free nor fair. I am writing to urge the U.S. government to respond more strongly to the current events in Belarus.

As you know, peaceful protests erupted throughout Belarus following the announcement of the contested election outcome. The regime’s security forces responded with a heavy crackdown. Police and army units used unnecessary and excessive force against largely nonviolent protestors, firing rubber bullets, using water cannons and tear gas and throwing stun grenades. The police also utilized ambulance vehicles to transport officers disguised as emergency responders.

Reports suggest that more than 7,000 people, including minors, were detained over several days following the election. Detainees included bystanders and voters waiting for the release of results at polling stations. This indicates a trend of large-scale arrests in clear violation of international human rights standards. Even more disturbing are the reported accounts of mistreatment and torture during and after detention. Hundreds of people have been injured, multiple civilians have died during the protests and in police custody, and dozens are still missing. Many protesters are facing criminal charges with a possible penalty of 8 to 15 years in prison.

Starting on August 24, after a brief period without mass arrests, Belarusian authorities resumed arbitrary detentions and criminal investigations of activists and peaceful protesters, including by arresting more than 200 people on August 27. Some members of the Belarusian Coordinating Committee, which was formed to negotiate a peaceful transition of power, were detained. Members of labor unions and strike committees who participated in the protests were also targeted.

Journalists covering the demonstrations have been harassed, attacked, and had their equipment destroyed or confiscated. Over 100 reporters and bloggers have been detained, with criminal investigations opened against some of them. The government shut down internet access on multiple occasions and blocked many social media platforms, NGOs, and news websites. These actions are an attack on freedom of expression, as well as on the right to seek and provide information. More than 50 human rights organizations have now signed an open letter decrying the government-initiated internet outages.

Given the blatant human rights violations described above, I am urgently calling on you to:

1. Issue a public statement to unequivocally condemn the Belarusian government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protests, acknowledge the 2020 presidential election as illegitimate, and conduct a public hearing to bring much needed attention to the issue.

2. Pressure the Belarusian authorities to:

a. ensure that the fundamental right of peaceful assembly is fully respected,

b. avoid the use of force against peaceful protesters;

c. refrain from further detentions of and criminal investigations against election observers, peaceful protesters, candidates, and members of their teams, members of the Belarusian Coordinating Committee, labor unions, and strike committees;

d. stop any interference with the right of freedom of expression, including unblocking of over 50 websites currently banned in Belarus and restore internet access;

e. initiate criminal investigations against those responsible for excessive use of force against the Belarusian public; and

f. restore accreditation of journalists covering protests for foreign and domestic media and refrain from mass detentions of journalists (i.e., on August 27, over 50 journalists were detained).

3. Call for the immediate release of all political detainees, including activists, human rights defenders, bloggers, and journalists detained on political grounds.

4. Support the Belarusian people in demanding the resignation of former president Alexander Lukashenko and recognize Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the new president-elect or call for new free and fair elections in the presence of international observers.

In case the above demands are not met, I urge you to implement the following measures:

1. Reauthorize and further amend Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011 (H.R.515) (“Act”) that previously targeted democracy and human rights abuses. In furtherance of Section 6 of the Act, work with the President of the United States to institute an entry ban into the U.S. for the senior leadership of the Belarusian government, members of their immediate families and members of security or law enforcement forces who participated in human rights violations, as well as block assets owned by the Government of Belarus, Belarusian senior leadership or members of their families.

2. Work with the White House to invoke and further enhance the Executive Order 13405, including by revoking the General License 2G issued on October 22, 2019, which authorized U.S. persons to engage in transactions involving the 9 largest state-owned companies in Belarus.

3. Work with the White House to invoke the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, including by forwarding referrals for imposing sanctions on persons responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, and other gross violations of human rights.

4. Utilize existing or enact new legal mechanisms to achieve asset freezes and entry bans, which would apply to all human rights violators in Belarus (and members of their families and entities controlled by them), including but not limited to members of the Central Election Commission, Precinct Election Commissions with confirmed election violations, members of the police and armed forces responsible for the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, as well as members of the judiciary responsible for arbitrary rulings resulting in incarcerations without due process. I urge you to work with human rights groups in Belarus and the European Union to identify these individuals and entities.

5. Support sanctions against Russian state actors and entities responsible for interference in the democratic processes in Belarus, as evidenced by the following:

a. After Belarus’ state TV company employees walked out to protest censorship, two Russian planes flew in on August 18 carrying teams of TV workers to replace them.

b. A Russian government plane used to carry the head of the FSB, the federal security service, was spotted flying to Minsk from Moscow and back during the night of August 1 as well as on August 26.

c. Lukashenko and Putin had numerous telephone calls in the month of August coordinating their response to the security and human rights crisis in Belarus.

d. Russian government used disinformation to blame Western powers for the unrest and offered to send in security forces to help secure vital infrastructure.

6. In order to prevent financing of the repressive apparatus in Belarus, immediately cease all financial, charitable, and technical assistance to the Lukashenko regime and impose a strict import ban on products made by state-owned enterprises. This freeze should include any additional Eurobond issuance by the Government of Belarus currently planned for 2021.

7. Work with Congress to create a Congressional Belarusian Caucus and other informal member organizations to facilitate interactions among members of Congress to help shape American policy objectives related to Belarus.

8. Support Congress in directing aid to programs strengthening the civil society in Belarus, such as through additional funding of the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, German Marshall Fund of the United States, Freedom House, Human Rights Foundation, and similar organizations.

9. Appeal to the U.S. ambassador to Belarus who has been appointed for the first time in over a decade to make a strong statement in support of civil and basic human rights as well as democracy for Belarusian citizens.

10. Implement strong economic sanctions on Belarus by removing it from the SWIFT network.

Please stand with the majority of Americans in supporting free and fair elections and the continued growth of democratic movements and institutions in Belarus. Please advocate for Belarus and add this matter to your policy platform. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[Signatory Name]

Letter for Submission – Short Form (<3,000 characters)

Dear [Senator____ / Representative ____],

As your constituent, I am seeking the support of the United States government in light of the recent human rights crisis and significant deterioration of the situation in Belarus. We appreciate the U.S. support to date along with the recent acknowledgment that the presidential election in Belarus was neither free nor fair.

Based on independent observers’ reports, backed by video and audio recordings, election results were blatantly falsified. Following the announcement of contested preliminary election results, peaceful protests throughout Belarus prompted an exceptionally brutal crackdown by the security forces. Even more disturbing are the reports of ill-treatment and torture during and after detention. Hundreds of people have been injured and multiple protesters died during the protests and in police custody. Journalists covering the demonstrations have been harassed, attacked, and detained. Additionally, internet shutdowns during protests amount to a severe curtailment of the right of freedom of expression.

Given the blatant human rights violations described above, I am urgently calling on you to:

1. Issue a public statement to unequivocally condemn the Belarusian government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protests, acknowledge the 2020 presential election as illegitimate, and conduct a public hearing in Congress.

2. Appeal to the Belarusian authorities to ensure that the fundamental right of peaceful assembly is fully respected and call for the immediate release of all political detainees.

3. Support Belarusian people by declaring Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as a new president-elect and calling for new free and fair elections.

In case the above demands are not met, I urge you to implement the following measures:

1. Reauthorize and further amend the Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011 (H.R.515).

2. Work with the White House to invoke and further enhance Executive Order 13405.

3. Work with the White House to invoke the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

4. Utilize existing or enact new legal mechanisms to achieve asset freezes and entry bans for all human rights violators in Belarus.

5. Support sanctions against Russian state actors and entities responsible for interference in the democratic processes in Belarus.

6. Immediately cease all financial, charitable, and technical assistance to the Lukashenko regime and impose a strict import ban on products made by state-owned enterprises.

7. Work with Congress to create informal member organizations to help shape American policy objectives related to Belarus.

8. Support Congress in directing aid to programs strengthening the civil society in Belarus.

Please stand with the majority of Americans in supporting the continued growth of democratic movements and institutions in Belarus. Please advocate for Belarus and add this matter to your policy platform.

Sincerely,

[Signatory Name]

If you have technical difficulties and require assistance, please send an email to

democracyforbelarus@gmail.com in English, Russian or Belarusian and we will get back to you within 24 hours. Please include your country of residence (state if in the US).

Long and Short forms of the petition to reflect the text in the attached Word document

Long and Short forms of the petition to reflect the text in the attached Word document

Letter in Support of Belarus_v2020.08
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Download 30 • 307KB

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