On 25 November, the Belarusian lower chamber of parliament passed amendments to the Criminal Code that would make it a crime to discredit the country. They would also increase penalties for "public appeals for...forcible change of the constitutional system."
The bill is still pending in parliament.
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights said in a statement on 30 November that the "vague wording" of the proposed amendments will allow Belarusian authorities to interpret legitimate human rights activities as illegal attempts to harm the state.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.