19 August 2020

The International Public Association “Gender Perspectives” is informing the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Belarus of its decision to suspend the institutional cooperation and joint activities in the area of domestic violence prevention for an indefinite time period.

Statement GPAs minimum, we regard the following activities suspended:
- conducting joint training activities for law enforcement personnel;
- participation in the national violence prevention campaign “Home without abuse” and other information and awareness-raising events;
- monthly the Ministry of Interior representative’s consultations on the National Domestic Violence Hotline for DV survivors 8-801-100-8-801.

This is a unanimous decision by the Organization’s Board and the Staff made in view of the unprecedented cruelty and violence exercised by the MoI law enforcement personnel toward peaceful protesters and detainees during the period between August 9 and 12, 2020.

As an organization with the mission to promote and protect women’s human rights, including right for life free of gender-based violence, we consider it impossible to continue institution cooperation and implement joint activities with the government institution, whose personnel has perpetrated inexcusable and unmotivated violence acts toward peaceful citizens, and whose leadership has not yet publicly condemned such actions, neither have they started public investigation of the crimes nor have they terminated from service those who have grossly violated the law enforcement principles of officers on duty.

We express our condolences to the injured law enforcement officers and condemn any violence toward them because we believe that no one should be abused. And yet, we are appalled that there is still no publicly available information about those law enforcement personnel who have used violence against peaceful citizens, while investigations of cases of using violence toward law enforcement officers are ongoing. Such an arbitrary approach unequivocally undermines the society’s trust into law enforcement in general.

Freedom of speech, freedom of expression and opinion, guaranteed by the Constitution in the Republic of Belarus (Article 33) should not be prosecuted by the government in any form, and on the contrary, should be strongly encouraged and protected in order to build a society based on mutual interests and sustainable development.

We would like to express our gratitude to individual MoI law enforcement officers and local law enforcement units for fruitful cooperation over the past 10 years of our organizational work, for their professionalism, honesty, integrity, humane attitude, service to their citizens and protecting their right to a violence-free life.

Gender Perspectives continues its statutory work in domestic and gender-based violence prevention and rendering assistance to the survivors of violence within, including operation of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. We will continue to inform domestic violence survivors about available assistance, legal norms and tools to hold perpetrators accountable, support them in submitting claims to police to protect their rights, as well as to report to the police the facts of legal violations when investigating the domestic violence cases.

We call on the Ministry of Interior to condemn the violence perpetrated by its officers toward peaceful citizens, hold their officers accountable, and offer public apology on behalf of the Ministry to the abused and their families.