Aug 6, 2020

MINSK, BELARUS (August 6, 2020) – American hip hop artist Tyga is scheduled to perform at a government-sponsored concert in Belarus on August 8, as part of a plan to distract from the electoral fraud in the imminent election and prevent protesters from gathering at opposition rallies.

The concert is organized and funded by the Belarusian dictatorship, led by Alexander Lukashenko. Under this regime, there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, and no freedom of association.

Belarus is also one of the most brutal countries in the world, where the police resort to violence to intimidate and control the population. HRF has sent a letter to Tyga and his representatives briefing them on the appalling human rights situation in Belarus.

“This performance, scheduled for the day before Belarus’ elections, is no coincidence. It is an excuse to cancel the opposition’s final electoral rally, and prevent ordinary Belarusians from showing their support for freedom and democracy,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “It is also a deliberate attempt to turn attention away from the massive electoral fraud that is already taking place across the country.”

Belarus’ elections, which haven’t been free or fair since 1994, have been met with extreme repression. As HRF recounted in its letter to the performer: “Protestors are grabbed off the street at random, and many are beaten bloody. The two most popular candidates in the upcoming presidential election, Viktor Babryka and Sergei Tikhanouvsky, were both arrested on trumped up charges. Many opposition activists have had to flee the country, along with their children, after receiving threats from the government.”

“Tyga has been an outspoken advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement. He has urged followers to vote in local elections and take to the streets in protest. His support for Lukashenko’s regime will greatly undermine the activism he has encouraged in the United States, and provide the Belarusian dictator a useful propaganda stunt,” said Halvorssen. “We hope he will stand on the side of the people of Belarus as opposed to their oppressor. He must decline the invitation to perform for the dictator.”

HRF requested that Tyga cancel his concert and use this media opportunity to send an urgent and categorical message of encouraging support to protestors in Belarus.

Read the letter in full here.

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The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. For further comment, please contact [email protected]