We urge all Belarusian Americans and allies: please contact your Senators and ask that they co-sponsor S. 3395 - Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act of 2023. This bill reauthorizes the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004, recognizes the war crimes and human rights violations perpetrated by the illegitimate Lukashenka regime, and expands the support of the aspirations of the people of Belarus for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law by the U.S. government.
Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) sent a letter (PDF) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Department of State Secretary Antony Blinken urging the Biden administration to designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Belarus. TPS provides protection to foreign nationals in the United States whose home countries are experiencing temporary and extraordinary conditions, including armed conflict and natural disasters, among other circumstances that make a return home unsafe. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is a cosigner of the letter in the Senate.
Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Congressmen James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) signed a bipartisan letter urging Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to give Special Student Relief eligibility to Belarusian students in the U.S. and extend Temporary Protective Status to Belarusian democracy activists in the U.S.
Belarus today is in a state of a near-total collapse of the rule of law. Every Belarusian-American has a friend, relative, or former neighbor who has been imprisoned, fired from their jobs, or harassed by security forces. Regardless of their age, family, or health status, people are unlawfully detained, tortured, kept in inhumane conditions, tried, sentenced, and left without necessities in overcrowded prisons. The Belarusian people are deprived of essential freedoms by way of force and violence. We urge the commission to develop a comprehensive foreign policy to end repressions, release political prisoners, and establish a pathway for a peaceful transition of power in Belarus.