Belarus educators’ interrogations pose a test for Europe’s democracies
The State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian KGB) on 21 October, 2021, apprehended for interrogations more than ten members of the European Youth Parliament. The interrogators were looking for information about youth organisations and youth movements in Belarus, their financial sources, as well as their political views. The European Youth Parliament is a non-profit, non-political educational program for young people from all over Europe.
The European Youth Forum and its member organisation, the Belarusian National Youth Council (RADA), said in a joint statement:
“The Belarusian authorities’ attack on civil society continues uninterrupted. Since the fraudulent elections which took place last year, President Alexander Lukashenko has hardened his crackdown on young activists and organisers, using arrests, political interrogations and other methods of intimidation. The recent targeting of non-political educators is a dramatic escalation that deepens the crisis in the country and threatens to further limit free speech.
Lukashenko’s violent actions pose a test for democracies in Europe and worldwide. In 2020, the Belarusian people overwhelmingly voted for change and, when their vote was ignored, they took to the streets. European leaders must show their resolve to promote democracy and protect human rights defenders worldwide, by taking concrete measures to end the Belarusian authorities’ attack on its citizens. We stand together in our fight for democracy, education, and free speech.”