Join Congressional Friends of Belarus Caucus
As members of the Belarusian-American community in the United States, I thank you for your support of the Belarusian people through passage of concrete legislation like the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights and Sovereignty Act of 2020. I ask you to join the bipartisan Congressional Friends of Belarus Caucus, co-chaired by Representatives Keating, Kaptur, Smith and Wilson. Your participation in the Caucus will show solidarity with the Belarusian people who are fighting for individual liberty and the right of democratic self-rule against the brutal tyranny of the Lukashenka regime. For almost 27 years, Belarusian President Aliaksandr Lukashenka has used a combination of manipulated elections, violent repression of political opponents and the free press, and maneuver between the US and Russia to maintain his rule. Last summer he unleashed political violence, arrests, torture, imprisonment and exile on the Belarusian people after Belarusians voted on August 9, 2020 for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to be the President of Belarus. Over 30,000 people have been detained and tortured since August 2020. To date there are at least 560 political prisoners. The independent media is under sustained attack. Lawyers are disbarred for representing accused political opponents. Students have been dismissed from universities. Even innocent bystanders from other countries are threatened by actions like the diversion by a Belarus fighter jet of an Athens to Vilnius-bound Ryanair international commercial airliner to arrest opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich. Belarus lies at the geographic heart of Europe and borders European Union and NATO members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and American friend and partner Ukraine. The Belarusian people seek to co-exist with the citizens of the neighboring countries and thrive as an independent nation free from malign influence. Supporting democracy in Belarus achieves core US objectives of protecting human rights, promoting democratic self-rule, and preserving the right of self-determination. Supporting democracy in Belarus also aids the US effort to reduce kleptocratic corruption endemic in Russia, Belarus and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Thank you for your support of the Belarusian people and service to the United States.
First sent on July 19 by American Friends of Democratic Belarus
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