Help HRF raise funds for striking state factory workers, journalists, and peaceful protesters who have been negatively impacted by their support for democracy in Belarus.
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The Human Rights Foundation
350 5th Ave #4202
New York, NY 10118
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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.
What is happening in Belarus?
On August 9, 2020, fraudulent elections sparked massive protests against the brutal dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to demand freedom and democracy, despite the extreme brutality of the state security services. Rubber bullets, tear gas, and beatings became regular tools against peaceful protesters. Tens of thousands of Belarusians were detained in prison holding cells, where many were tortured. Six months after initial protests, the democracy movement in Belarus continues, stronger than ever. The United States and most European countries have isolated Lukashenko’s regime, placing sanctions on hundreds of officials, and recognized Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya as the rightful leader of democratic Belarus. Freezing temperatures and the mass imprisonment of journalists and human rights activists have not stopped Belarusians from making their voices heard. According to the Human Rights Centre “Viasna,” in 2020 more than 33,000 individuals were detained, more than 1,000 cases of torture were documented, and at least 7 people were killed since the beginning of the protests. Now, more than ever, it is important to support those speaking out for freedom and democracy in Belarus.
Why does HRF care?
HRF’s mission is to promote democracy and human rights where they are systematically denied to people. Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus is one of the most violent and brutal dictatorships in the world, where political dissent is met with extreme brutality. Free elections have not taken place in 26 years.
Yet, Lukashenko’s regime is currently at a point where nationwide public protests could usher in a new era of democracy. The international community can help sustain the pro-democracy movement in Belarus by sending financial support, as well as sharing information and standing in solidarity with protesters.
What will the funds be used for?
Many protesters and journalists have been threatened or denied their salaries as a result of their support for the pro-democracy movement.
The objective of the Belarus Solidarity Fund is to provide financial assistance to Belarusians who have been fired, or who are on strike to protest Lukashenko’s regime. Even people who care about democracy may waver in their commitment to support the protests if they cannot support their families. HRF wants to provide financial assistance to those that have been targeted by the Lukashenko regime for supporting democracy in Belarus, and to provide journalists and activists with the tools they need to continue to work in the most challenging environments.
Recipients are carefully vetted by HRF in collaboration with Belarusian nonprofits, civil society organizations, and international human rights experts.
HRF has also partnered with leaders of the Belarusian diaspora to provide targeted financial aid to striking workers at specific factories, including GrodnoAzot, Belaruskali, and Naftan. The idea is to provide support to enough striking workers to effectively shut down operations at each factory, adding more pressure to Lukashenko’s weakening regime. If you would like to start a similar crowdfunding initiative, please email [email protected].
What else has HRF done for Belarus?
HRF has closely monitored the situation in Belarus since May when protests against the regime first started, and worked to support the pro-democracy movement on-the-ground, as well as raise international awareness for the situation in Belarus.
– On September 25, 2020, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya spoke at HRF’s Oslo Freedom Forum about the pro-democracy movement in Belarus
– In June, HRF published an op-ed entitled “Endgame for Belarus Leader Alexander Lukashenko?”
– In August 2020, HRF convinced American rappers Tyga and SAINt JHN to cancel their performances at a concert organized by Lukashenko’s regime
– HRF released a podcast interview with Andrei Sannikov, Belarusian democracy activist and former presidential candidate, as part of our “Dissidents and Dictators” series
– During the first wave of protests in August 2020, HRF sent letters to 25 members of the Belarusian state security apparatus who had committed crimes against humanity. Several of the individuals identified by HRF were later sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
– HRF hosted a panel discussion on “The Telegram Revolution in Belarus,” featuring Belarusian journalists and members of the opposition movement
– In January 2021, HRF joined a campaign to pressure the International Ice Hockey Federation to move the Ice Hockey World Championship away from Belarus, whose government was attempting to use this event to distract from its human rights abuses.
What else can I do to support Belarus?
Spread the word:
To increase visibility for this cause, please share this campaign page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. The more people learn about what is happening in Belarus, the more people can help sustain the democratic movement.
Write letters to political prisoners in Belarus or take godparenthood over one of them. Lobby your local representatives to speak out in support of democracy in Belarus and stand with the Belarusian people. International pressure and attention is one of the best ways to prevent human rights abuses in Belarus. If we ignore Belarus today, Lukashenko will feel free to continue his brutal repressions against his own people.
For daily news and analysis from Belarus, Radio Free Europe, Belsat TV, and Nexta TV have English language services with the latest updates and information. You can also follow Belarusian journalists like Franak Viacorka (@franakviacorka) and Hanna Liubakova (@hannaliubakova), or Belarusian leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@tsihanouskaya) on Twitter and other social media.