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.
Belarus Freedom Forum urges the U.S. Congress to pass the supplemental funding for Ukraine. The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is a broad and imminent threat to global security and the safety and prosperity of Americans. If this invasion is allowed to succeed, it will undoubtedly invite more acts of aggression by Russia, China, Iran, and other authoritarian regimes against the U.S. and its allies and partners around the world. An increase in armed conflicts will increase food insecurity, create more refugees, raise fuel prices, and disrupt supply chains. Providing aid to Ukraine now is the most cost-effective way to mitigate this risk.
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.
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.