World known british artists wrote an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron with an appeal to pay attantion to Belarus' dictatorship.
Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
1 July 2010
Dear David Cameron,
END BRITIAN’S TOLERANCE OF DICTATORSHIP
We are a group of British artists working in the theatre who are deeply concerned about the censorship and human rights abuses taking place in Belarus.
We are writing on a day that President Lukashenko brings in a decree imposing censorship on the internet. He states that it is an attempt “to protect the rights of Belarusian citizens, society and state in the field of information.” But we believe it will result in the further persecution of individuals and groups who wish to offer alternative points of view to the Belarusian citizens. It is our belief that it is only a Government that is deeply insecure about its legitimacy and aware of its failings that would wish to suppress opposition in this way.
Countries such as Finland and Estonia have ruled that internet access is a human right for their citizens and international bodies such as the UN are also pushing for universal net access. To impose restrictions on the internet is a deliberate attempt to limit the Belarusian people’s access to a means of debate, which is a vital part of any healthy society. We must oppose any withdrawal of these freedoms as anti-thought, anti-freedom, anti-human.
We urge you to use all your powers and influence to ensure that fair Presidential elections take place in Belarus. The elections that took place in 2001 were widely considered by international observers to be un-free. After the 2006 election the UN’s Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that the election failed to meet their commitments for democratic elections and that Lukashenko “permitted State authority to be used in a manner which did not allow citizens to freely and fairly express their will at the ballot box… a pattern of intimidation and the suppression of independent voices… was evident throughout the campaign.”
Today’s decree certainly reduces the likelihood that the forthcoming election will be any more democratic or fair than the last two.
While there might not be open killing in the streets yet, there have been countless politically motivated killings and kidnappings, such as of Yuriy Zakharenko (Ex-Minister of Internal Affairs) and Victor Gonchar (Vice-Speaker of the Parliament and ex-Head of Electoral Committee) to name but two. What will it take for our Government to act?
Thank you for giving this matter your urgent attention.
Sir Tom Stoppard, Mark Ravenhill, Samuel West, Caryl Churchill, Alan Rickman, Henry Goodman, Howard Brenton, Simon Stephens, Simon McBurney, Henry Porter, Laura Wade, Lyndsey Turner, Alexandra Wood and Clare Lizzimore