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In terms of civil liberties, Belarus has plummeted to the "basement" of the world rankings

In his interview for the Voice of America, Pavel Latushka highlighted the deepening crisis concerning fundamental human rights in Belarus.

According to the "Index of Human Freedom" compiled by the Cato Institute research center (USA) and the Fraser Institute think tank (Canada), Belarus has dropped seven positions over the past year.

The index takes into account 86 indicators, including personal, civil, and economic freedoms, security conditions, religious freedom, property rights, and more.

In the global Human Freedom Index of 2023, Belarus is ranked 133rd, alongside Nicaragua, Morocco, and Congo.

Compared to 2022, the country has lost seven positions, falling from 126th place. The rating compilers note that over the year, the situation in Belarus has deteriorated across all three indicators - personal, social, and economic freedom.

Based on these indicators, the policies of the Minsk regime have pushed Belarus to the bottom of the world rankings. In comparison, neighboring countries like Latvia (15th place), Lithuania (17th place), and Poland (47th place) have much higher rankings. Ukraine is ranked 83rd, while Russia is ranked 121st.

The current Human Freedom Index assesses the situation in 185 countries and territories, covering 98.8% of the world's population.

"Why is the international community not addressing the fact that a Nobel Peace Laureate has been sentenced to 10 years in prison?"

Pavel Latushka, the Deputy head of the United Transitional Cabinet and head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, views Belarus's low position in the Human Freedom Index as clear evidence that Lukashenko has effectively dismantled human rights in the country. He describes the situation as catastrophic.

Latushka emphasized, “It is impossible to speak of democracy in Belarus when it is governed by a totalitarian and brutal regime that establishes a system of complete control over all societal institutions and individual citizens.” He expressed these views in a conversation with a correspondent from the Voice of America’s Russian service.

The opposition figure highlights that Belarus currently holds one of the world's highest numbers of political prisoners. "The Viasna organization recognizes 1,500 political prisoners, but experts believe that this number needs to be multiplied significantly. Many individuals are unrecognized or their imprisonment is unknown. Last year, all opposition political parties in Belarus were dissolved, and over the past year and a half, 1,440 non-governmental organizations that collaborated with Europe, the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and other democratic countries were shut down. There is not a single independent media outlet in Belarus; they have ceased to exist at both the national and regional levels. They all operate from abroad," Pavel Latushka lists.

According to the head of the NAM, political prisoners are subjected to daily torture in Belarusian detention facilities, and the fate of many prominent opposition politicians and civil activists remains unknown for several months. "Nobel Peace Laureate Ales Bialiatsky is imprisoned, and I find it incomprehensible that the world remains silent about this! Why is the international community not discussing the fact that a Nobel Peace Laureate has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and is enduring terrible conditions?" exclaims the Voice of America's interviewee.

Furthermore, he asserts that the political, social, and societal repressions enforced by the Minsk regime are extending into the economic realm. "For instance, individual entrepreneurs have been unable to register in Belarus for over a year and a half. There are hundreds of Belarusian businessmen imprisoned, taxes are rising, and an increasing number of economic sectors require licensing. All of these factors contribute to a significant outflow of Belarusians. According to data from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, published in May of last year, between 250,000 and 500,000 Belarusians have left the country in the past three years," cites the Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet as evidence.

Pavel Latushka emphasizes that the worsening situation in Belarus poses a threat to the entire world. He explains, "Previously, in free world countries, human rights were a priority, and it was inconceivable that a situation like present-day Belarus could exist in principle. However, many countries now adopt the mindset of 'Well, this is happening somewhere far away, and it doesn't concern us.' Yet, when such a complacent stance prevails, it could unexpectedly emerge within these democratic countries tomorrow. Western societies will then face the same problems," warns Pavel Latushka.

Regarding Russia's higher ranking in the global Index of Human Freedom compared to Belarus, Pavel Latushka attributes it to the fact that political repression in Belarus started earlier and is more severe. "For instance, according to Memorial, there are 87 political prisoners in Russia, while according to Viasna, there are 1,500 in Belarus. The population of Russia is 145 million, whereas Belarus has 9 million inhabitants. Belarus has no opposition political parties at all, whereas they still exist in Russia. In Belarus, all independent NGOs have been liquidated, unlike in Russia where they still exist. Therefore, the level of repression in Belarus is incomparable to that of the Russian Federation," asserts Latushka.

He further states that while the war against Ukraine was initiated by Russia, the Minsk regime supported the aggression.

"In my opinion, the fight for freedom must always continue. The West needs to understand this and not compromise with Lukashenko because, over the course of 30 years, it has become clear where these compromises lead. Today, it is not only the Belarusian people being tested for their future, but also the democratic world and democratic Europe. If Belarusians fail, the democratic West will fail tomorrow. I have no doubt about this. It seems as though the world has given up, merely observing the situation in our country, but dictators only understand the language of force," concludes Pavel Latushka.



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