Dialogue with Belarusian Women Human Rights Defenders
Moderator: Mandeep Tiwana, Chief Programmes Officer, CIVICUS
The situation of human rights in Belarus continues to deteriorate at a rapid and unprecedented scale. In response, the people of Belarus are bravely standing up for their human rights and fundamental freedoms in the face of well-documented, systematic, widespread and gross repression and intimidation.
Women are at the forefront of the popular opposition to the Lukashenko regime’s repression and have become the face and driving force behind the peaceful protests and demonstrations. Women – including prominent athletes and academics – have skilfully used their platforms to speak for human rights. Women from all walks of life have taken to the streets.
The Lukashenko regime has responded with repression, violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, and discrimination. Women protestors have faced torture and ill-treatment during dispersal of demonstrations, transport and detention. According to the most recent report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus: “Detained women were allegedly denied hygiene products and access to water and soap. Kept in small cells with dozens of other detainees, their right to privacy when using toilet facilities was denied, and it was not uncommon for male officers to enter cells without warning.” At least 143 women have reported that security officers tortured or sexually assaulted them. Repression against Belarussian civil society, including organisations that protect and promote the human rights of women and girls, is widespread.
This side event will highlight the work of women civil society activists in Belarus and draw attention to the threats and vulnerabilities they face. It will further present an opportunity for Member States of the United Nations and other members of the international community to engage with women civil society activists and learn how they can better support them.
Zoom link will be emailed upon registration or watch the event on YouTube