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HUMAN RIGHTS FILM NETWORK AND FILM FESTIVALS FROM AROUND THE WORLD URGE BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES TO RELEASE WATCH DOCS BELARUS DIRECTOR TATSIANA HATSURA-YAVORSKA
In an open letter, the global film community expresses concern over Hatsura-Yavorska's arrest, along with that of other Belarusian human rights defenders
The Human Rights Film Network and other film festivals from around the world joined a global call for the release of Belarusian cultural activist and human rights defender Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska, Director of the International Film Festival WATCH DOCS Belarus, who was arrested in Minsk on the 5th of April, along with several other human rights defenders.
In an open letter addressed to Belarusian authorities, the film festivals called for the release of Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska and the other human rights defenders deprived of their liberty.
"We urge the Belarusian authorities to immediate and unconditionally release our colleague Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska and other human rights defenders, and to end acts of judicial harassment against them", said Human Rights Film Network board member, Florencia Santucho, Director of the Buenos Aires International Human Rights Film Festival.
Also the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the International Federation for Human Rights and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), issued an urgent appeal strongly condemning the arrests and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Hatsura-Yavorska and the other defenders.
Text of the open letter:
We, the undersigned representatives of the Human Rights Film Network and film festivals from around the world, call upon the authorities of the Republic of Belarus to immediately and unconditionally release Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska, the Director of the International Film Festival WATCH DOCS Belarus and the educational NGO Zvyano, as well as other human rights defenders deprived of their freedom.
We received with utmost concern information that a criminal case is being initiated against Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska.
We urge the government of Belarus to respect Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska's right to freedom of expression and personal freedom. Hatsura-Yavorska has made essential contributions to Belarusian culture and for the promotion of fundamental values that are universally shared by our global film community, of which WATCH DOCS Belarus is a member.
The WATCH DOCS Belarus festival belongs to the world family of human rights film festivals - the Human Rights Film Network. We will not forget about our beloved colleague, Tatsiana.
We express our solidarity with Tatsiana's family.