Direct phone line with the head of Migration and Citizenship Department in the Ministry of the Interior took place on November 19. Hundreds of Belarusans were trying to appeal Tonkacheva’s expulsion.
Let us recall that it is less than a month left before the famous human rights defendant Elena Tonkachevais to be deported from Belarus. The official reason of deporting of the Chair of the Board of the Legal Transformation Center “Lawtrend” from the country is administrative offences in the form of minor speedings while driving registered by cameras that, assumingly, pose threat to public order in Belarus. However, Tonkacheva’s colleagues believe that this step of the authorities is politically motivated, as the president election 2015 are coming.
On November 19 direct telephone line with the head of the Department of Migration and Citizenship in the Ministry of Internal Affairs Aliaksei Biahun took place. The calls of citizens concerned about Elena Tonkacheva’s fate were put in a line; however, no one managed to talk with the official.
A correspondent of EuroBelarus Information Service talked with those who called hoping to influence the decision made in relation to the deportation of the human rights defendant – Natalia Riabava and Iryna Belaya, as well as with Iryna Sukhij, the head of the “Eco House” public organization.
EuroBelarus: - What will Belarus lose with Elena Tonkacheva’s deportation?
Natalia Riabava: This is ailing situation – to deport the best. Elena is a real professional and a person who worries about Belarus with all her heart, and does everything to make Belarus a better place.
Iryna Belaya: - Belarus will lose a “watchdog”, who looks after the observance of human rights in Belarus. Secondly, Belarus is losing an actor who sees to the observance of the right for freedom of association. Besides, the country also loses a public organizations’ consultant and a lawyer who suggests changes to the Belarusan legislation.
Iryna Suhij: - This is a good question! I can say that it is we, the green movement, who are to lose a lot from Elena’s deportation, as it is she who helped us a lot in the issue of environmental protection.
These were not only judicial consultations, but also some strategic issues that helped our campaign for the preservation of swamps a lot. We managed to defend some particularly protected territories the authorities were going to develop.
I think that Belarus will lose its conscience in legal aspect, however pretentious it may sound. Lena is not only a professional, but also a public actor in the sphere of human rights and ombudsman institute that is certainly underdeveloped in Belarus.
Thus, it will be a loss for the part of the country that is ready to develop and wants to live in a civilized jural state.
EuroBelarus: - What do you think is the reason why the famous lawyer is being deported? Whom is it impeding and why?
- N.R.: - I think it is just an excuse to get rid of one of the human rights defendants, who are not very welcomed in Belarus.
I.B.: - Of course, it has to do with the preparation for the president election of 2015. Her deportation is aimed at liquidating the monitoring on observance of human rights in Belarus. In Belarus, Russia, and any other countries where human rights are violated, such people as Tonkacheva are out of place.
I.S.: - We can make different suppositions here; Tonkacheva’s work and the work of her organization, especially after the events of 2010, monitoring of courts, perjuries might be the reasons why she is being deported. Her deportation is a certain preventive measure, cleanup before the election.
- N.P.: - Yes, I did. And left a commentary under my signature, that it is unreasonable to get rid of the best people in the country; it is inhumane.
I.B.: - Of course! I was in the Pershamaiski District Department of Internal Affairs, where the decision on her deportation was made. I tried to reach the direct line with Biahun, but didn’t succeed. The same happened with my colleagues. Yaraslau Bekish managed to be the 1st in the line but never got a chance to speak.
I.S.: - Of course, I signed the petition, as well as I tried to reach the direct line with the head of the Department of Migration and Citizenship in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
EuroBelarus: - What should happen for the human rights fighter to stay in Belarus?
N.P.: - I don’t know.
I.B.: - I’m a pessimist; I think we can do nothing about this. Civil society demonstrated solidarity, collected a lot of signatures, but didn’t – and probably won’t – break the situation.
The answer is very banal: we should change the political system and get rid of dictatorship, and then no such situations will happen again.
I hope that Lawtrend will keep on working and performing its regular functions. I also hope that the situation in Belarus will change and three years of deportation turn into a much smaller term.
I.S.: - To say to the authorities that they should change their mind and don’t do such steps is just ridiculous.