On 24 March, the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council was held in Geneva. A number of human rights organizations gained a right to vote and presented their reports on various aspects of human rights violations.

Zaira Zafarana from the international human rights organization IFOR (the International Fellowship of Reconciliation) in international coalition with Our House created to defend rights of the Belarusian conscientious objectors and deserters, spoke today at the session telling about cases of persecution of Belarusian men for their refusal to serve in the army, which include imprisonments, new amendments to the legislation that provide for death penalty for «high treason» on paper, and in fact for deserting the army, as well as introduction of criminal penalty in the form of imprisonment for the term of up to 5 years to those who help deserters to escape abroad.

Our House is hereby expressing our deepest gratitude to Zaira Zafarana and the organization IFOR for their systematical support they give us, for raising issues of Belarusian conscientious objectors and deserters at such a high level and for continuous fight for the right of Belarusian men not to join the army and not to participate in Russia’s war against Ukraine on Putin’s side.

Our House reminds once again: the right not to do military service and the right no to take up arms are indefeasible rights of every Belarusian man.