Appeal of the Forum of Democratic Forces of Belarus to the government of the Republic of Lithuania

The Forum of Democratic Forces of Belarus, as a platform for expressing any opinion by all political and civil initiatives without exception, expresses concern regarding the deportation of Belarusian citizens living in Lithuania and accusations of these citizens of being a threat to National Security of Lithuania.

We note with bitterness how the fate of our compatriots become hopeless and terrible, whilst under the threat of being deported to Belarus, where they face prison, torture or the death penalty.

We are very grateful to the Government of Lithuania for the assistance provided to Belarusians in 2020 and for the assistance and support that Lithuania has provided to Belarusians so far. That is why we express bewilderment about the criteria by which some activists of the 2020 protests get the right to remain in Lithuania, while others are declared a threat to the National Security of Lithuania.

Belarusian activists today live in Lithuania against their will. These are mainly victims of the regime's repression and people who are in Lithuania for reasons of conscience.

The Lithuanian government invited tens of thousands of Belarusians under its protection, and this is why Belarusians chose Lithuania as a place of shelter and salvation.

We believe that every Belarusian, and even more those who openly oppose Lukashenka regime, have the right to protection in the territories of countries that declare their solidarity with the Belarusian people.

After the start of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, Belarusian regime is doing everything possible to stay in power by fulfilling Putin's whims.

We affirm that the Belarusian people are against this criminal war. Belarusian activists and ordinary citizens are against Russian aggression and against lawlessness and injustice.

The war in Ukraine is having an impact on the minds of politicians around the world. We note with bitterness that the persecution of Belarusians gives political preferences to some politicians, including those in Lithuania. Ordinary citizens suffer from this, caught in the meat grinder of repression, persecution, faced with the problems of emigration.

At the moment there are more than 1000 cases of refusal to Belarusians in issuing or renewal of residence permit in Lithuania.

Leaders of the democratic movement in Belarus are being persecuted. In 2011, a well-known human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski, was arrested and sentenced to several years in Belarus on the basis of information provided by Lithuanian authority to the Lukashenko regime.

In 2019, former presidential candidate Yaroslav Romanchuk, a well-known researcher and economist, was also included in the list of persons posing a threat to the security of Lithuania and was unable to visit the EU.

In recent weeks, there has been a serious media attack against the head of the organisation "Our House" Olga Karach and politician Zenon Pazniak, which deepens our concern.

The Belarusian political field is not homogeneous, there are disputes and contradictions within the democratic movement, but this should not give political opponents a reason to destroy objectionable people with the help of the Lithuanian Security Services.

We call on the Lithuanian government to support the Belarusian democratic forces in all their diversity and not to follow the mood of xenophobia.

We call on the Lithuanian government to publicly disclose the facts on the basis of which decisions are made to declare certain Belarusians a threat to Lithuania's national security.

We call for justice, democracy, legality and prudence.

Forum of Democratic Forces of Belarus