• Навiны
  • Monitoring Violations of Cultural Rights and Human Rights of Cultural Figures. Belarus, 2023

Monitoring Violations of Cultural Rights and Human Rights of Cultural Figures. Belarus, 2023

Апошняе абнаўленне: 13 лютага 2024

The number of violations in the sphere of cultural rights and against cultural figures since 2020 is alarming. 

The repression has not ceased even after three years. Thus, even for 2023, there have been not less 1,499 violations of cultural rights and human rights against workers in Belarus’s cultural sector. These include:

1,097 violations against 605 cultural figures and individuals whose cultural rights were violated;

163 violations against 147 cultural organizations and communities;

57 violations related to historical-cultural heritage objects or the Belarusian language;

Additionally, 182 materials were counted, including social media pages of cultural figures or content on cultural themes: websites, YouTube channels, articles, clips, books, etc., listed by the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus in the “Republican List of Extremist Materials.”

The list of extremist literature, created by the Lukashenko regime in Belarus, included 40 books and publications by the end of 2023. This list comprises both classics of Belarusian literature and contemporary authors.

As of December 31, 2023, within the framework of criminal persecution, no fewer than 155 cultural figures are in prisons, colonies, pre-trial detention centers, open-type institutions, or under “house arrest”, 104 of whom have been recognized by the human rights center “Viasna” as political prisoners. According to Viasna’s data, there are a total of 1452 political prisoners in Belarus at the end of 2023.

In accordance with one of the last analytical material of the PEN Belarus, the state continues its policy aimed at debelarusization (discriminatory attitudes towards the Belarusian language, persecution for Belarusian identity) and the promotion of the culture and ideology of the “Russian world“; it combats “Western values” and culture (LGBT literature, Valentine’s Day and Halloween, characters like Huggy Wuggy, etc.), Polish-Lithuanian heritage; it develops guidelines for patriotic education of the new generation and for a unified state policy of historical memory; closes institutions in the private education sector; persecutes members of scientific communities, as well as organizations and communities based on religion, political parties, and other associations.