Belarusian Women Human Rights Defenders and Civil Activists: Specifics of Persecution and New Conditions
October 5, 2023

Belarusian Women Human Rights Defenders and Civil Activists: Specifics of Persecution and New Conditions

The human rights organization Lawtrend conducted this research to identify the specifics of persecution of women human rights defenders and civil activists in Belarus in the context of their exercise of civil rights in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential elections. This should allow to identify and analyze the specific risks, challenges, and restrictions they face in order to understand and take into account how women involved in civic activism suffer in the broader contexts of violence and discrimination in Belarus, and in turn to contribute to better developing strategies and mechanisms to protect and support Belarusian women human rights defenders and civil activists. 

Women human rights defenders and civil society activists contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights in Belarus, working not only on gender issues. Like all human rights defenders, they are persecuted by the authorities. But they also face gender issues as they are persecuted not only because of their activities, but also because of their identity. Discrimination against women, including gender-based violence, is a problem in Belarusian society. The political crisis and associated repression that followed the 2020 presidential election have significantly affected women human rights defenders and civil society activists, particularly in relation to their rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression. Many of them were subjected to intimidation, arbitrary imprisonment, inhumane and degrading treatment, etc. 

The fact that women in Belarus tend to have the primary care of children and elderly relatives makes them more vulnerable than men. Liquidation of organizations whose purpose was to protect and promote women’s rights has become a form of persecution of women active in civil society and has also deprived them of an effective tool to receive assistance.

Lawtrend. 2023


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