August 9, 2021, marks one year since the infamous 2020 presidential election, which became a turning point in Belarusian history. Belarusians around the world commemorate the beginning of the peaceful pro-democracy movement it sparked. One year ago today, millions of brave Belarusians chose to stand up to a dictatorship and defend democracy in the voting booths across the country and elect Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya as the next president of Belarus. Hundreds of thousands then took to the streets to protect their votes, despite the prospect of getting jailed, tortured, or even murdered.
In light of the recent unprecedented crackdown on independent media and civil society in Belarus, the Belarus Freedom Forum urges the U.S. government on behalf of Belarusian American Communities to impose economic sanctions to put an end to political repressions. in Belarus. We are grateful for the U.S. government’s decision to join the European Union in its latest effort to sanction individuals responsible for state repressions as well as state-owned companies funding the regime.
The Honorable Janet Yellen Secretary of the U.S. Treasury U.S. Governor to the IMF Dear Madam Treasury Secretary, It came to our attention that the International Monetary Fund Executive Board is working on a new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) allocation, and Belarus is neither excluded from the new allocation nor prevented from accessing its future SDR holdings. We hope the United States exercises its veto power and prevents access to SDRs by an illegitimate government the United States does not recognize.
July 16, 2021 The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr. President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. President: We American friends of democratic Belarus thank you for your support of the Belarusian people in your meetings with U.S. allies, friends, and partners as well as for your administration’s actions to increase sanctions against the Lukashenka regime and his enablers.
The Honorable David Malpass President of the World Bank Group Dear Mr. Malpass, We, the members of Belarus Freedom Forum, would like to bring to your attention our concerns about the ongoing Belarus Higher Education Modernization Project (ID #P167992) and call on the World Bank to halt any lending to the Republic of Belarus and reallocate the funds associated with it. Providing funds to the state-owned higher education system of Belarus is immoral and counterproductive, as the current atmosphere of intimidation and the ongoing political repressions against students and faculty make any improvement and innovation highly unlikely.
The Honorable David Malpass President of the World Bank Group: Dear Mr. Malpass, Belarus Freedom Forum, a US-based organization of Belarusian-Americans and Belarusians living in the United States, is contacting you regarding the Belarus Emergency Covid Response Project by the World Bank (ID #P173828). Under the terms of this project, the Republic of Belarus is to receive a loan of 98.5 million USD. Part of the loan has already been disbursed.
Dear Mr. President: The Belarus Freedom Forum appreciates your earlier statements regarding the democratic movement in Belarus. We thank you for voicing your support for the Belarusian people and strongly condemning the Lukashenka regime. We are addressing you in connection to your upcoming summit with Russian President Putin. In their struggle for freedom, the Belarusian people are standing up not only to the brutal authoritarian rule of Lukashenka but the only strong ally of the regime, the Russian Federation.
Belarus Freedom Forum, on behalf of Belarusian-American communities, calls on President Biden, Vice President Harris, the US Congress, and the State Department to initiate an immediate international investigation, demand Belarusian cooperation with the international community, and set consequences for the actions of the Belarusian regime concerning the incident with Ryanair flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius on May 23, 2021. The actions of the Belarusian authorities – including a manufactured bomb threat, illicit instructions from Minsk ATC, and intimidation by a military fighter jet – that has led to the diversion and forced landing of FR4978 in Minsk in violation of international laws and the Chicago convention on international civil aviation, with the political goal of arresting an opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich, have jeopardized the lives of the passengers and crew and set a dangerous precedent that undermines the safety of journalists, dissidents, and political refugees all over the world.
On behalf of Belarusian Americans Communities, the Belarus Freedom Forum urges the U.S. government to implement the most robust economic sanctions to stop the escalation of political repressions in Belarus. We appreciate what the U.S. government has done already: personal sanctions on those responsible for violence and human rights violations and the recent announcement about sanctions on nine Belarusian state-controlled companies. Yet, these personal sanctions and announced economic sanctions have not been enough.
President Biden and members of the U.S. Congress, On behalf of the Belarusian Americans Communities, we call on President Biden and members of the U.S. Congress to make public statements on March 25, 2021, in a show of solidarity with the Belarusian people fighting for freedom against Lukashenka’s ruthless regime and for independence of their country. We urge President Biden and members of the U.S. Congress to recognize March 25 as the Belarusian Independence Day and the white-red-white flag as the symbol of Belarusian independence and sovereignty.