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Following the arrest and subsequent release of Tatsiana Hatsura-Yavorskaya, the Belarusian authorities continue to harass WATCH DOCS Belarus. The festival organizers are under criminal investigation, and the Zvyano Association is facing liquidation. Hatsura-Yavorskaya, the head of the organization and founder of the festival, issued an appeal to all those who care about the fate of Belarusians fighting for democracy. Let's try to spread it as widely as possible and support our friends at least in this way.

Fill out a short form by June 18, join Zvyano Association and help WATCH DOCS Belarus!



NGO ‘Zvyano’

In response to the threat of liquidation of the organization

Dear fellow citizens and citizens of any country in the world who empathize with the suffering of Belarusians and their striving for democratic changes!

We, members of the NGO ‘Zvyano’, ask for your support.

In April 2021, searches were carried out in the office of our organization and at homes of the activists of the organization. As a result our equipment, documents and money were confiscated; five activists were arrested and at the moment the organisation’s leadership is assigned the status of suspects under a criminal charge ‘Organization of group actions that grossly violate public order and are associated with obvious disobedience to the legal requirements of government officials or entail disruption of transport, enterprises, institutions or organizations, or active participation in such activities.’

We want to emphasize that we did not commit such actions, but were engaged in the protection of human rights exclusively by legal means.

On June 9, our organization received a written warning from the registering body, the Main Department of the Ministry of Justice, regarding the violation of the current legislation by our association.

  1. According to the specialists of the Ministry of Justice, the monitoring of the healthcare system carried out by Zvyano during the pandemic contradicts the legislation and the Charter of the organization, but the Charter of the Public Association ‘Zvyano’ directly provides for the implementation of such activities. Among the tasks and methods of our organization are the analysis of social problems of families and search for ways to solve them; collection and analysis of information aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle, protecting families, motherhood and childhood.
  2. The warning indicates that on May 19, an inspection program to verify the compliance of our activities with the requirements of the legislation and the Charter was sent to our address. We had to provide information and documents  according to this program. However, we did not receive the letter with such a program; moreover, our documents, equipment and even a seal are still being examined by the Investigative Committee.
  3. The warning indicates that the organization's website contains a task that is not displayed in the Charter, but the website provides tasks from the Association's Charter. There is a rearrangement of words that does not distort the meaning: on the website we see ‘promoting the ideas of humane, moral, tolerant, anti-discriminatory open and responsible relationships in society’, in the Charter - ‘promoting in society the ideas of humane, moral, tolerant, anti-discriminatory, open and responsible relationships.’

Thus, we came to the conclusion that this warning regarding the violation of the law is unfounded, politically motivated, and is targeted to liquidate the organization (according to the Belarusian legislation, the registering authority can start this procedure for a systematic violation of the law).

We appeal to all concerned citizens around the world. If Belarusian authorities destroy our organization, let it be the largest organization in terms of numbers with its members being worthy and respected in society. We have little time left: until June 18 we must submit the list of the organization's members to the Ministry of Justice. Please, if you would like to show solidarity with us, fill out our form (will take one minute) and tell your friends and colleagues about our call.

The educational and social public association ‘Zvyano’ was registered in August 2013. Since then, we have implemented a number of projects and initiatives, including:

  1. Annual International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival WATCH DOCS Belarus, Award for Belarusian documentary filmmakers;
  2. A baby-sitting service for single parents with alcoholism so that they could regularly attend Alcoholics Anonymous groups and thus stay sober;
  3. The rehabilitation and socialization program for ex-prisoners, which included free consultations, basic computer skills courses and work with a psychologist;
  4.  of the health care system during the epidemic;
  5. Advocating for changes in alcohol policy in the country, including the first ever online marathon of NON-addiction where problems related to addictions had been discussed live for 24 hours;
  6. “The machine breathes, but I do not” - the exhibition to thank Belarusian healthcare workers, dedicated to the problem of politicization of the healthcare system and the violence faced by doctors;
  7. Our organization is the author of a report on the violation of human rights in the period of August 7-14, 2020, provided help to victims in hospitals, as well as a co-founder of the International Committee for the Investigation of Torture (is a part of the steering committee of the International Accountability Platform for Belarus);
  8. Acquisition of a book by Kazimir Malevich ‘God isn’t thrown off. Art, church, factory’ as a gift to the Vitebsk Center for Contemporary Art and other projects.

Thank you for your solidarity,

Head of Council


Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska and team