NEW YORK (August 20, 2020) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today launched the Belarus Solidarity Fund, an initiative to provide financial assistance to Belarusians who have been impacted by their support for democracy in Belarus.
The dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko is wavering following rigged elections on August 9, 2020. According to official results, Lukashenko received 80 percent of the vote, despite widespread support for challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. However, there is overwhelming evidence of massive electoral fraud, even in Lukashenko’s strongholds. After Belarusians took to the streets to protest the results, state security forces reacted violently, resorting to rubber bullets, tear gas, and extreme brutality.
The objective of the Belarus Solidarity Fund is to provide some financial assistance to Belarusians who have been fired as a result of their support for the pro-democracy protests against the Lukashenko regime. Recipients will be carefully vetted by HRF in coordination with Belarusian nonprofits, civil society organizations, and international human rights experts.
Striking state factory workers have been threatened and denied their salaries while on strike. Members of the state security forces who refuse to carry out illegal orders and journalists who refuse to propagate disinformation on public television have been terminated and refused pay.
“Even people who care about democracy may waver in their commitment to support the protests if they can’t support their families,” said HRF chairman Garry Kasparov. “So far, thousands of peaceful protesters have been arbitrarily detained and sent to holding prisons, where members of the security services have beat and tortured them. Several people have been killed. Nevertheless, these protests have been strengthened by striking state factory workers and the defection of many middle and low-ranking members of the government to the opposition. As protests reach the end of their second week, the future of Belarus hangs on the edge and HRF wishes to be a source of support for those targeted by the regime.”
HRF is a 501(c)3 charity organization and any funds donated are tax-deductible in the United States to the fullest extent permissible by law.