Dear Secretary Mayorkas: We, members of the Belarusian-American community, urgently request that you grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Belarus and Special Student Relief for Belarusians studying in the US. Belarus satisfies the third condition for granting TPS: political repression in Belarus has created the extraordinary and temporary condition of a political and humanitarian crisis that prevents Belarusians from returning safely to Belarus. Further, Belarus is participating in Russia’s war against Ukraine as a staging ground and launch site for attacks on Ukraine, satisfying the first condition for granting TPS. Both of these qualifying conditions for TPS threaten US national interests and sovereignty.
Lukashenka’s new decree forces Belarusians to take chances on imprisonment in Belarus or be trapped abroad without documents. The United States should not tolerate the rogue government of Belarus forcing Belarusians residing legally inside the U.S. into an untenable choice between statelessness and arbitrary imprisonment. Granting Belarusians Temporary Protected Status and Special Student Relief will demonstrate the United States’ dedication to supporting democracy and human rights against dictatorship and oppression.
Use this script to call your elected officials and ask them to get Belarus designated for Temporary Protected Status. Call the Washington, DC, office and ask to speak with the foreign policy advisor. If they are unavailable, leave a message with the receptionist. If you get their voicemail inbox, please leave a message.
Tuesday, July 11, 2023, marked a new low in the developing tragedy in Belarus. In the early morning, Belarusian society was shocked by the death of a prominent artist and political prisoner, Ales Pushkin. Ales died in the custody of Belarusian prison authorities under unclear circumstances after being rushed from prison to an intensive care unit. According to sources, Ales developed stomach ulcers while in prison and was not treated for his medical condition. The Belarus Freedom Forum calls on the Biden-Harris Administration and U.S. Congress to increase pressure on the Lukashenka regime to release all political prisoners and investigate all deaths in police custody.
The Belarus Freedom Forum calls upon the U.S. Government to set consequences for any current or potential plans to deploy Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. We ask that additional sanctions be considered if Belarus and Russia move forward with the nuclear weapons plan.
The Belarus Freedom Forum seeks your help to urge U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security to designate Belarus for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in response to the extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent the safe return of Belarusian citizens to their home country.
On March 25, Belarusian Americans will celebrate Dzien Voli, Belarus Freedom Day, to mark the 105th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the Sovereignty of the Belarusian Nation. On March 25, 1918, the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic announced its independence from the Russian Empire. The Rada established the White-Red-White Flag and coat of arms Pahonia as national symbols. March 25 became a symbol of the Belarusian pro-democracy movement celebrating freedom, human rights, and resistance to dictatorship and oppression.
Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich, and Uladzimir Labkovich, the founders of the largest Belarusian human rights center Viasna were sentenced to 7-10 years in prison. While many fabricated charges were mentioned, their only offense was protecting the human rights of people in Belarus, a gross crime in the eyes of the Lukashenka regime. Many organizations around the world recognize Viasna’s contributions and awarded Ales Bialiatski numerous prestigious awards, including the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.
Today is the 365th Day of Ukrainian heroism, resolve, courage, unity, hard work, and fierce fight against the aggressor. Today is the 365th Day of pain and suffering, hardship and losses. The suffering of the Ukrainian people must end. We cannot allow one more year of bloodshed and grief. The world must continue providing Ukraine with even more moral, financial, and vital military support.
The Belarus Freedom Forum calls on the United States to consider the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian government or its military forces in Ukraine and designate the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The Belarus Freedom Forum urges the United States to continue providing comprehensive military and humanitarian help to Ukraine until its Russia-occupied territories are completely liberated, and the threat of a re-invasion is eradicated. It is the only way to prevent Russia from instigating yet another genocide against neighboring countries.