The civil society in Belarus is experiencing an ever-growing crackdown. While the news of violence and protests have been missing from the media, young people from the European Youth Parliament in the country are experiencing distressing pressure from the government. This follows the official liquidation of our National Committee in Belarus by the Belarusian government in July.
Over the past week more than ten young people who happened to be involved in the most recent event of EYP Belarus were interrogated by the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus, the national intelligence agency which has been actively targeting the Belarusian opposition. Members and participants of the EYP have been abducted from their homes and universities without a lawyer or access to any legal help being provided. Those affected included underage minors. The interrogations aimed at discovering the financial sources of the event, but also any foreign contacts, partner organisations and the relevance of a topic on LGBTQ+ issues discussed at the event.
Not only that these people are punished for practising active citizenship and devoting their time to volunteering, now they and their families have to worry about their future and safety. Not only the last event of EYP Belarus had to be carried out in Kyiv, also young people affiliated with EYP were expelled from their education and had to relocate from the country.
We,the EYP network, express our fullest solidarity with our National Committee in Belarus and all those affected. We are an organisation based on values of democracy and pluralism and strive to empower young people across the whole continent in more than 40 countries to become active citizens and to execute their civil rights.
No young person ever should be subject to such abuse.
No young person ever should be punished for exercising their rights.
No young person ever should be fearing consequences for being part of EYP.
This situation is unprecedented. We are condemning and denouncing the actions of the Belarusian authorities. Once more, we demand an immediate end to the threats made to young Europeans who want to play an active role in the shaping of their own lives and society at large through volunteering and devoting themselves to the values of EYP.
We will step up and intensify our efforts to provide support to our members, volunteers and participants in Belarus as much as we can. We ask our members, partners and decision-makers to consider what they can do by taking political action, contributing financially to funds which help people from Belarus or raising awareness on their case.
We would like to thank the European Youth Forum and its member organisation, the Belarusian National Youth Council (RADA) for their solidarity. RADA also has been a partner to our event in Kyiv.
The Governing Body of the European Youth Parliament