Ms Niina Laajapuro
Amnesty International – Finnish Section
Helsinki, 17 November 2020
Subject: The Urgent Appeal about Protection of the Children’s Hospice in Belarus
Dear Ms Laajapuro,
We, Belarusian Diaspora in Finland, would like to draw your attention to repressions perpetrated by Lukashenka’s regime against the children’s hospice in Hrodna, Belarus.
This hospice is a non-profit charitable organization which has been providing terminally ill children with medical support and palliative care since 2008. For the political reasons, and in particular, due to participation of the hospice director Volha Vialichka in the peaceful protest against fraudulent election and unprecedented violence of Lukashenka’s regime, Belarusian authorities started repressions not only against Volha Vialichka but also against the children’s hospice.
Volha Vialichka was detained during the charity event on October 15, 2020 and sentenced to a fine for participation in the peaceful protest. On October 22, 2020 the hospice’s premises were searched, the computers and director’s notes were seized. The Financial Investigations Department started reviewing the hospice’s tax records and seized the documents. Inspections were initiated regarding the hospice’s issues which have already been recently inspected by the state authorities when no violations were found.
In November 2020, the Hrodna Region Financial Investigations Department opened a criminal investigation regarding Volha Vialichka for embezzlement, but so far provided no evidence of any embezzlement. On November 9, 2020, the Economic Disputes Court sent a notice of the hospice’s premises lease termination.
There are currently 70 terminally ill children at the hospice. If Lukashenka’s regime succeeds in its attempt to close the hospice, all these children will be left to die without medical support and palliative care.
We are asking Amnesty International about the urgent and very serious attention to this situation and urge you to help prevent genocide against terminally ill children, as well as protect the hospice and its director Volha Vialichka from politically motivated repressions.
Please announce an Urgent Action regarding the situation around the children’s hospice in Hrodna and the criminal proceedings against Volha Vyalichka, and use all available mechanisms and diplomatic channels to protect Volha, the children’s hospice in Hrodna and the children at the hospice, to ensure that the criminal case against Olga is closed by December 10, 2020.
We would greatly appreciate if Amnesty International sends petitions to call for immediate termination of repressions against children’s hospice and Volha Vyalichka to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chairman of the Hrodna Regional Executive Committee Uladzimir Karanik (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Hrodna City Executive Committee (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org), the Head of the Main Department of Justice of the Hrodna Regional Executive Committee Yalena Yurgel (email@example.com) and the Head of the Financial Investigations Department of the Hrodna City Executive Committee Siarhei Vyshankou (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
Thank you for your support and the important work which Amnesty International does to promote and defend human rights!
Belarusian Diaspora in Finland