Human Rights Centre Viasna (‘Spring’) has received the 2020 Democracy Defender Award.
The award honours a person or group for exceptional contributions to the promotion of democracy and the defense of human rights in the spirit of Helsinki Final Act principles and other OSCE commitments. It was established in 2016 to recognize the enormous contribution civil society makes to defending and promoting democracy.
“Human Rights Centre Viasna receives the award this year for its mission of defending human rights in Belarus and building a just, free and democratic society for all its citizens,” the OSCE statement reads.
According to Viasna Chairman Ales Bialiatski, the award is a clear signal to the Belarusian authorities as an incentive to serious reforms in the field of human rights and a substantial improvement of the situation with the rights and freedoms of Belarusian citizens.
“Unless our goals are not achieved, we are not going to give up. The repressions against the Belarusian human rights defenders will not stop our work in support of democracy and human rights in our country. We are grateful to the OSCE member countries that nominated HRC Viasna. We believe that the courageous and persistent efforts by human rights defenders in the OSCE region, in spite of the obstacles, will help make our world a better place,” he stressed.
Active from 1996, the organisation was founded on the principle of respect for human rights, and its main goal is to contribute to the development of civil society in Belarus. HRC Viasna conducts research on the state of civil society and rule of law in Belarus, with the aim of improving implementation of human rights obligations and commitments, the OSCE notes.
belsat.eu, following spring96.org