Municipality of the Italian city of Genoa gave the chairman of Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski honorary citizenship. At a special ceremony, the honorary mayor handed him a certificate of Genoa in March Vintsenzi. What does that citizenship and why it gave human rights activist from Belarus?
"Among the honorary citizens of Genoa — the former president of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the Prime Minister, the President of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres. Ales what citizenship means for you to Genoa?"
"It means a great attention to the Italian public, in particular the Municipality of Genoa, to the human rights problems that exist in Belarus. They are very alarmed by the massive violations that we have come in the last 15 years. And they wanted to somehow express their solidarity , support for civil society in Belarus, human rights defenders and non-registered human rights center "Viasna." We had a person that they could pass a clear message to the Belarusian civil society and that they support our struggle for democracy, and the signal to the Belarusian authorities that they were protesting against the permanent violations of human rights in various fields. Not for nothing in this act, I was given the honorary citizenship of the states that they are alarmed and problems with the death penalty, the problems with the media and other civil and political rights that Belarusian citizens are severely limited. That it is a symbolic act of support and solidarity with the part of the Belarusian people that wants to democratic change. "
"How may I help you with your advocacy of citizenship Genoa?"
"This is also a sign of the Belarusian authorities that need to happen democratic changes in our society that we can not keep 10 million people in the yoke, the political unfreedom that exists in Belarus. Remember I did Bandazhevsky, who was made an honorary citizen of one of the French towns during being in prison. Therefore it is such a rare measure of support. But it is by the way, given that we will soon have a presidential election. nervoznastsi We expect an escalation on the part of the authorities in respect of civil, political, youth activists. Accordingly — increase the level of repression. And we will naturally turn to their colleagues, friends on different levels, and up to now the Municipality of Genoa in connection with the problems that we may have with human rights in the pre-election and election periods. "
"Does your connection to the list of honorary citizens of Genoa, Belarusian human rights defenders are better known outside than inside Belarus?"
"Clearly, there is a certain kind of effect, given that we are effectively cut off from the official media, a large audience. For example, the" Spring "is no longer registering seven years. Government very deliberately created a reservation, which had been placed in civil society activists, human rights activists, encircling us from all other society. And we power, depriving the registration, attempted to isolate from society. But we still do not give up. Indeed abroad, at least in some countries, aware of the Belarusian human rights defenders, maybe even more than in Belarus. "
"As there was a ceremony of granting citizenship to Genoa?"
"The procedure took place in the palace of Tours, in the historic center of Genoa. At this event, attended by about 200 people, and in general it opened" Rights Week, "which held the municipality. Hour and a half it was the talk of Belarus, Lukashenko on, about human rights, about the relationship Belarus and Russia, on the prospects of Belarus. then mayor of Genoa read out a letter and handed honorary citizenship certificate. This is symbolic of citizenship. Leaders of the municipality told that I can be in Genoa at home and should feel like a citizen, so our problems — that their problems. We will maintain contact with the Municipality of Genoa. "
"After obtaining citizenship, or you learned passers-Genoese?"
"At least, at just knew that here there was an honorary citizen, and the hotel staff took my signature. This was quite unusual, since I'm not super-old and not well-known athlete."
"How often do you intend to visit Genoa?"
"As required. Vacationing there I will not go, of course."