Belarusian rights activist sentenced to three years of house arrest for participating in women’s march
Margareta Ana Baksa
Europe Team and Human Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence.
Belarusian women’s rights activist Volha Harbunova was sentenced to three years of house arrest for the organization or active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order. The charges were related to her role in organizing and participating in the 2020 women’s marches in Belarus. Harbunova was the head of the women’s rights NGO ‘Radislava’ before her arrest and before the NGO itself was liquidated in March of 2022.
Harbunova was arrested in 2021, after which she was subjected to inhumane detention conditions. She was denied a mattress, was not permitted to take regular walks or showers, was denied her medication, and was not allowed to send or receive letters. After a two-week hunger strike, some of her demands were granted. Prior to her arrest, she was allegedly considered as “inclined to extremism and other destructive actions” by Belarusian authorities.
Harbunova’s arrest is one of numerous politically motivated arrests in Belarus over the last two years. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders noted that 32 human rights defenders were put on trial on politically motivated charges. Moreover, like Harbunova’s NGO ‘Radislava’, many other human rights organizations active in Belarus were arbitrarily shut down.
Sources and further reading
Frontline Defenders (2022). Volha Harbunova. https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/volha-harbunova
Human Rights House Foundation (2022, February 21). Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Volha Harbunova. https://humanrightshouse.org/campaigns/letters-from-lukashenkas-prisoners-volha-harbunova/
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (2022, May 10). Belarus: Sentencing of woman rights defender Volha Harbunova. OMCT. https://www.omct.org/en/resources/urgent-interventions/belarus-setencing-of-woman-rights-defender-olga-gorbunova
Viasna Human Rights Center (2022). Volha Harbunova women's rights activist, sentenced to 3 years under home confinement.