In response to news that the Belarusian Justice Ministry intends to close down the Belarusian PEN Centre, Jennifer Clement, PEN International President, said:
‘For years the Belarusian PEN Centre has spoken out against the loss of freedom of expression around the world and one of its members, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, is a PEN Vice President. To see the Belarus Ministry of Justice turn on its own brave citizens is an act of censorship and injustice. The global PEN community stands with the writers and people of Belarus who demand democracy and basic human rights’.
On 22 July, the Belarusian Justice Minister sent a letter to the Belarusian PEN Centre informing their of their intention to liquidate the organisation. The move comes in the wake of intensive raids against journalists and human rights activists across the country in recent days. The Belarusian PEN Centre recently published a report detailing 621 cases of human rights and cultural rights violations between January and June 2021.
PEN International calls on the Belarusian authorities to urgently end their crackdown on independent voices, to immediately and unconditionally release all those being held for peacefully expressing their views and to end raids, detentions, harassment, and attacks on all those exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association.
Stand in solidarity with PEN Belarus. Sign PEN America’s petition.
For more information about PEN’s work on Belarus click here.
For further details contact Aurélia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338 email: Aurelia.firstname.lastname@example.org