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.