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IFJ President Younes MJahed: We strongly condemn liquidation BAJ

30.08.2021 Source: ifj.org

The Belarus Supreme Court dissolved on 27 August the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), the only independent representative organisation of journalists and media workers in Belarus and one of the country’s most prominent champions of freedom of expression. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) strongly condemn this parody of justice.

On 27 August the Belarus Supreme Court in Minsk held a hearing on the dissolution of BAJ, the IFJ and EFJ affiliate in Belarus. For over 25 years, BAJ and its membership of over 1,300 media workers has promoted freedom of expression and independent journalism in Belarus, facilitating the exercise of civil, social, and cultural rights.

BAJ is among dozens of organisations targeted for liquidation, with others including cultural, environmental and heritage protection groups, the Belarusian PEN Centre, the Office for the Rights of Disabled People, the National Youth Council, the Belarus Press Club, organisations focusing on gender rights, and groups that support older people.

“After organising fraudulent elections to keep himself in power, the Belarusian dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, proceeds to an outright liquidation of all sectors of Belarusian civil society,” said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. “This is an unprecedented purge that should mobilise intergovernmental organisations. We call on the European Union, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the United Nations to react firmly. The liquidators and the forces of repression must be severely punished.”

"The decision of the Belarusian Supremer Court is the result of months of attacks against our affiliate and we strongly condemn this. BAJ has been courageously defending press freedom for years in Belarus and journalists badly need its support. We are standing by BAJ in the name of press freedom and freedom of association," said IFJ President Younes MJahed.

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