Ministers join campaign highlighting human rights issues.
Five political prisoners will have their ‘godparenthood’ taken over by Scottish Government Ministers as part of an initiative to amplify the voices of those suffering human rights abuses in Belarus.
The #WeStandBYyou campaign, organized by the human rights group Libereco, advocates for the release of those imprisoned because of their political commitment to democracy in the country and to free and fair elections.
A total of five Scottish Government Ministers, including the First Minister Humza Yousaf, will join European politicians to offer support individuals who have been imprisoned during the current political regime in Belarus. The First Minister will become the 400th politician and the first head of a European government to participate formally in the scheme.
First Minister Humza Yousaf said:
“Politicians who rage against democracy never prevail. I watched aghast as Lukashenko stole the election in Belarus in 2020, and the brutal crackdown on those who disagreed with him that followed.
“As the first head of a government anywhere in the world to sponsor a political prisoner of the Belarus regime, I encourage others to join Scotland in unequivocally condemning the abuses carried out by the Lukashenko regime against the Belarusian people.
“Dzmitryi has been handed a nine-year prison sentence – simply for exercising his freedom to speak out, and protest. I hope that by shining a light on what him and others are facing in Belarus, I and the government I lead can raise awareness of and support for him, and for the thousands of other political prisoners.”
External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson, who is also taking part in the campaign said:
"The Scottish Government stands with those who suffer injustices, and we will use our platform to advocate for change.
“By participating in the Libereco 'godparenting' scheme, we hope to bring further international attention to the human rights situation in Belarus and we stand united with those who seek fairness, equality and justice."
Dzmitryi Halavacz – Supported by First Minister, Humza Yousaf
In October 2023 Dzmitryi Halavacz was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Eduard Babaryka – Supported by External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson
On 5 July 2023 Eduard received an eight-year prison sentence.
Siarhai Vaitsiuk – Supported by Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray
Siarhai is serving a two-and-a-half years sentence in prison.
Natallja Dulina – Supported by Minister for Europe Christina McKelvie
Natallja was detained in early October 2022 and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.
Volha Tserakh – Supported by Minister for Equalities Emma Roddick
In March 2023 she was sentenced to five years imprisonment for her actions.
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