Since the beginning of summer, mass purges of civil society have been taking place every week in Belarus. The past week was indicative — more than 40 non-profit organizations were closed. Administrative and criminal cases are initiated against independent media. Business representatives are forced to admit guilt in economic crimes. But the most vulnerable in the situation of mass repression and pressure were ordinary people-activists of districts and cities.
The first wave of stripping in the yard and city chats swept last fall. People became more cautious but continued their activities. They collected parcels for arrested and imprisoned, they helped to pay fines. Sometimes they took care of families and children who remained without care. This united and supported every person who made the only right choice in the summer of 2020 and remained defenceless before the lawlessness of the illegitimate government.
At the moment, there are a large number of cases when government representatives openly threaten and intimidate ordinary citizens. People in plain clothes break into apartments, conduct searches that are more like a robbery. They don’t present any documents, not disdain to commit such actions in front of young children. “Searches” are carried out without drawing up protocols, and in the case when people are asked to provide identity documents and conduct a search procedure following the law, direct threats to life and health begin from people in plain clothes.
In most cases, lawyers cannot be present during the search. They are not allowed, because situations are exclusive, and lawyers either were not notified about the beginning of the search method or were late, which automatically implies their non-admission to the procedure.
During the searches, people are forced to record videos where they confess to committing allegedly illegal acts. For example, in the “Cascade” district, a mother with an infant had to say on camera that she was leading destructive channels. Later, it became known that she had done it with a threat to the life and health of the baby. During the recording, people in civilian clothes constantly coordinated the text and recording with the higher management.
The scale of such repressions is taking on a threatening scale. Entire districts of Belarusian cities are being subjected to targeted and systematic genocide. At the same time, the official heads of the district administrations openly admit that there is a different order for the destruction of all citizens who had at least a minimal relation, not to the protests themselves but even to help the victims.
ICCI “Our House” calls on international human rights organizations to pay closer attention to this unprotected category of citizens. Many of them have to leave the country, many are under investigation for crimes that they did not commit, many lose the opportunity to hug their relatives and friends. We do not know what other actions the illegitimate government is capable of to destroy the desire to resist in people. But we are sure that if we all support and help each other if we speak loudly and openly about what is happening in Belarus, then civil society will not break down, will survive, will come up with new forms of protest. And he will win.