By “Ecohome”, environmental NGO, Belarus Statement on the issue of non-grata status issued by Lithuania to Belarusian antinuclear activists
Yesterday, on 26 September, citizens of Belarus, antinuclear campaigners Mikalai Ulasevich and Tatsiana Novikava were not allowed to enter Lithuania on the reason of status of non-grata persons who might endanger the public order or the national security of Lithuania or others EU member states. The decision to give the non-grata status for antinuclear activists was issued by Lithuania.
Mikalai Ulasevich is a coordinator of the public campaign “Astraviec Nuclear Power Plant is a Crime!”. Tatsiana Novikava coordinates the Belarusian antinuclear campaign; she used to be the secretary of independent public expertise of the project of Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus. Both activists criticize the NPP construction plans in Belarus, as well as in Lithuania and Kaliningrad oblast of Russia.
Ulasevich and Novikava had to visit Lithuania for participation in the conference “Lithuania – Belarus: Nuclear Energy Neighborhood” held in the Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament). They were officially invited to share their views on the problems of NPP construction and public participation in decision-making on nuclear energy in Belarus and Lithuania.
Before that Ulasevich and Novikava visited Lithuania for several years by invitation of the non-government organizations, parties and members of the Seimas of Lithuania and participated in international meetings and conferences. Never they had problems with the authorities of Lithuania or violated the legislation. Tatsiana Novikava was an initiator and organizer of the international conference on the problems of the nuclear power, held in December 2011 at the Seimas and municipality of Vilnius, with experts participating from Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Norway.
Ulasevich and Novikava have criticized the nuclear power plant construction in Belarus, made public for national and international community the numerous violations during construction of the NPP in Belarus. Belarusian powers organized harassments of Ulasevich and Novikava for their criticism. A few days ago Ulasevich was being searched. In mid-July of this year Novikava was arrested for five days when she tried to give to the Russian Embassy open letter about the construction of NPP in Belarus.
We consider that the decision of the Republic of Lithuania related to Belarusian antinuclear campaigners is politically motivated action, intended to manipulate public opinion on the eve of elections in Lithuania and a referendum on the construction of Visaginas nuclear power plant. This step closes the doors to the European Union for antinuclear campaigners and facilitates harassment of the Belarusian authorities against them. This measure is inhumane, violates human rights and is against democratic traditions trends.
We ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania to reconsider the decision, and the Lithuanian Parliament to take appropriate measures to review it.
We appeal to the international community for support.
September 26, 2012