On August 9, 2020, fraudulent presidential elections sparked massive protests against the brutal dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko. Despite the extreme brutality of the state security services, hundreds of thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to demand freedom and democracy. Rubber bullets, tear gas, and beatings became regular tools against peaceful protesters. Tens of thousands of Belarusians were detained in prison holding cells, where many were tortured.
Yet, Lukashenko’s regime is currently at a point where nationwide public protests could usher in a new era of democracy. The international community can help sustain the pro-democracy movement in Belarus by sending financial support, spreading information, and standing in solidarity with protesters.
Since its inception in August 2020, the Human Rights Foundation’s Belarus Solidarity Fund has provided a lifeline to the dissidents and civil society that comprise the movement in Belarus and the diaspora. HRF provides modest financial assistance to those Belarusians who have been fired from their jobs, injured, arbitrarily detained, or who face steep fines.
HRF also partnered up with leaders of Belarusian diaspora to conduct varied fundraising activities and raise money for striking Belarusian workers at state factories. For instance, we partnered with Belarusian organizations in California to raise money for humanitarian operations in Ukraine by sponsoring a Belarusian team in a 200-mile relay, organized by Ragnar. The event, which took place in San Diego from April 29-30, 2022, was a major success and garnered additional donations following the event. HRF has also been able to support other Belarusian activists by featuring them on the 2022 Oslo Freedom Forum.
HRF also emphasizes the importance of supporting independent Belarusian journalism. Since 2020, we have been providing funds to independent media outlets and journalists who, at great personal risk, continue to cover events in Belarus in the face of government repression. At the end of 2021, we also announced the Belarus Journalism Initiative, which bestows grants to independent Belarusian media outlets and journalists who had to relocate from Belarus due to repression. All the recipients are carefully selected and vetted in order to make sure our assistance goes to those who need it the most. The fund also supports human rights organizations that help repressed Belarusians find legal assistance, and Belarusians that have had to flee the country to escape the repression of the Lukashenko regime. Recipients are carefully vetted by HRF in collaboration with Belarusian nonprofits, civil society organizations, and international human rights experts.
Donate to the Belarus Solidarity Fund and help us continue supporting the cries for freedom by the brave people of Belarus. Visit our page to donate to Belarus Solidarity Fund or to support a specific crowdfunding campaign. If you would like to start a similar crowdfunding initiative, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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