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Preliminary report on the repressive measures of the Lukashenko regime against Belarusians abroad

On November 25, Warsaw hosted the presentation of the preliminary report titled "Systemic discrimination, human rights violations, and political repression by the Lukashenko regime against Belarusian citizens living abroad and ways to overcome it." The document, prepared by NAM lawyers, aims to systematize information about the actions of Lukashenko's regime targeting Belarusians living abroad, as well as ways to counter repressive measures and mitigate the negative consequences for those.

Previously, NAM lawyers documented and systematized 15 forms of rights violations, discrimination, and repression against Belarusians abroad resulting from the actions of Lukashenko's regime. These include:

  • Revoking deferment of military service for citizens studying at foreign universities.

  • Detentions upon border crossings or when applying for visas.

  • Impeding participation in elections for citizens residing abroad.

  • Criminal prosecution in absentia and confiscation of property belonging to political emigrants.

  • Prohibition of issuing passports abroad.

  • Prohibition of property transactions based on foreign-issued power of attorney.

  • Prohibition of obtaining different kinds of official papers based on foreign-issued power of attorney.

  • Requirements for Belarusian citizens to report on foreign residency permits, permanent residency, citizenship, and other documents.

  • Destruction of property and arrest of emigrants' relatives.

  • Discrimination against Belarusians abroad based on their place of residence by local actors.

  • Obstacles in obtaining apostilles for documents, including extended deadlines and increased costs, among others.

The listed rights violations are not exhaustive, as NAM lawyers continue to gather information on repressive measures taken by the regime against Belarusians abroad.

The event was attended by representatives from the National Academy of Sciences, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Warsaw and Netherlands Bar Associations, the OSCE ODIHR, the Polish Ombudsman, foreign diplomats, and representatives from the Polish law firm "WKB Wierciński, Kwieciński, Baehr," and the Juliusz Mieroszewski Dialogue Center.

During the presentation, proposals were collected regarding systematic solutions to the problems related to the violation of the rights of Belarusians abroad.

Pavel Latushka, the head of NAU, stated: "In the countries where Belarusians reside today, the rule of law takes precedence. Therefore, the issues faced by Belarusians living abroad are not solely their own problems; they are the problems of the governments of those countries. It is crucial to systematize and identify solutions to these problems so that Belarusians do not find themselves in a legal vacuum abroad due to the repressive actions of the regime."

The working group of lawyers will continue to work on the report, taking into account the comments and suggestions received during the discussion. After the completion of systematization, the report's materials will be sent to and presented before the governments of countries where Belarusians reside, with the aim of countering the discrimination resulting from the regime's repressive actions.


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