We call for the release of Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska

Together with film festivals from around the world we call for the release of Belarusian cultural activist and human rights defender Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorska, Director of the WATCH DOCS Belarus International Film Festival, who was arrested in Minsk on the 5th of April, along with several other human rights defenders.

The open letter addressed to Belarusian authorities has been signed by the festivals associated in the Human Rights Film Network, the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk and other film festivals and institutions from around the world - including Berlinale, Sundance, and Marché du Film - Festival de Cannes.

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. 

The open letter and full list of signatories:

Media coverage: