The main sponsors of the IIHF will revoke their partnership if the World Championship is held in Belarus; Tsimur Mitskevich, who has been missing for months, was found – he is finally safe; another student, Yauhen Kalinouski, was sentenced to 4 years in prison; management of state-owned enterprises rewrites collective agreements and breaks the law
16 January 2021 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
Main sponsors refuse to finance the World Ice Hockey Championship in Belarus
Representatives of Belarusian diasporas around the world urge sponsors of the World Ice Hockey Championship to not take part in it if it is held in Minsk. The largest sponsors have already refused to support the championship due to human rights violations in Belarus.
The NIVEA brand was the first to announce its refusal to sponsor the World Hockey Cup if it takes place in Minsk. “NIVEA MEN stands for respect, togetherness and opposes all forms of discrimination and violence. Looking at the actual situation, we have decided that NIVEA MEN will not sponsor 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship if it is confirmed to be co-hosted in Belarus. We already informed the IIHF about our decision and will keep following the current discussions closely,” the official NIVEA Instagram account states.
The Czech car manufacturer ŠKODA has sponsored ice hockey competitions for nearly thirty years. In a recent statement, the company declined to sponsor the championship.
“We’ve proudly partnered with the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships for 28 years. That said, we also respect and promote all regulation in force to protect human rights as a fundamental requirement throughout the word. Therefore, ŠKODA will withdraw from sponsoring the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship if Belarus is confirmed to be co-hosting the event,” the official statement says.
It should be noted that on 15 January, during a picket by the Belarusian diaspora in the Czech Republic near the ŠKODA office, a press secretary of the company came out and brought them hot tea and coffee. At the same time, he noted that ŠKODA fully shares the position on the cancellation of the World Cup in Belarus and will give an official answer within a week. However, the car brand announced its decision the very next day – 16 January.
The Swiss watchmaker Tissot, one of the sponsors of the championship, has expressed concerns to the IIHF about the human rights situation in Belarus. “Sport is at the core of our DNA and we have been fans of ice hockey for more than 25 years. Human rights are, of course, a fundamental value of our Brand. We have addressed our concerns to the IIHF and are waiting for a clarification from the Federation in due course,” write company representatives.
Thousands of Belarusians left their grateful comments on the social networks of these companies. Next week he IIHF will decide on the venue for the Ice Hockey World Championship.
Talented student sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment in a colony
Yauhen Kalinouski, a 22-year-old university student, was sentenced to 4 years in prison in a general regime penal colony. The Judge, Maksim Trusevich, found him guilty under Part 1 of Art. 342 and Art.364. An order for compensation of 2,500 rubles (800 euros) to the “injured” policemen was also issued.
Yauhen tried to protect citizens from being beaten by security officers at a peaceful rally on 14 July, the day when Viktar Babaryka and Valery Tsepkalo were denied registration as presidential candidates. Kalinouski considered the actions of the authorities to be cruel and unjust. Yauhen pleaded not guilty and told the court that he had not violated public order and had not used violence against the police officers. “In my life I was guided by the moral values that my parents, good upbringing, school, university put in me, and never resorted to any illegal actions in order to diversify my life, to bring something into it,” said the student in the last word. “There were instances of physical contact with police officers, but I want to emphasize that they were primarily due to the influence of the police officers on the persons who were there, which was morally and ethically condemned by the society of the Republic of Belarus and the international community.”
A video, which was viewed in court, shows how a policeman punched Kalinouski with his fists, another police officer beat him with a truncheon, and then another group of policemen came running up, and one of them kicked Kalinouski. According to his lawyer, under these circumstances he had the right to the necessary defense.
During the trial, Yauhen apologized to the injured law enforcement officers and partially reimbursed the moral damage caused by his actions – he transferred 500 rubles to two children’s institutions, as they wished.
Yauhen is a scholar of the President’s foundation for talented youth, a participant of republican and international Olympiads in geography, he completed internships at universities in Poland, the USA, and participated in an international student forum. The young man was awarded the “Man of Vitsebsk Region” award. Kalinouski has not been previously brought to criminal or administrative responsibility, he is characterized exclusively from the positive side.
Tsimur Mitskevich, badly injured by security forces, is alive and safe
The teenager, Tsimur Mitskevich, who was beaten by the security forces in July 2020, is alive and safe, according to the page of BLRČR community, which helps with the rehabilitation of the injured Belarusians in the Czech Republic.
16-year-old Tsimur was detained on 12 August 2020 in Minsk at a peaceful demonstration, and on 13 August he was brought from the police department to the hospital with terrible injuries: craniocerebral trauma, concussion of the brain, open fracture of the malar-orbital complex, convulsion syndrome, right paraorbital hematoma, multiple contusions of soft tissues and limbs, traumatic erosions of the cornea of both eyes. They hit him on the heels with an electric shocker and squeezed out the boy’s eyes with a stick. Doctors were forced to put him into an artificial coma. In early September, the boy was transferred to a regular ward, and on the same day he went missing. Only today it became known that thanks to the efforts of dozens of people, the boy was transported to a safe place. During the time while the boy was on the run, unfortunately, his mother died, leaving nine children orphans, seven of whom are under 16 years of age. To help the family, more than 9,000 euros were raised, which will now be distributed among the children.
The management of state-owned enterprises of Belarus violates workers’ rights
At the state-owned enterprises of Belarus, violating the rights of workers, new collective agreements are being drawn up, in which people who are not members of the official trade union have no right to apply for dormitory accommodation, for a number of payments of financial assistance, compensation for health resorts vouchers and medical insurance (these payments are made at the expense of the employer, the trade union has nothing to do with them). Also, those who left the official trade unions are deprived of additional vacations, housing loans, vouchers to health resorts and other bonuses that the enterprise provides to all employees. Such documents were sent to employees of BelAZ, Belarusbank, Minsk central heating and power plant, JSC Belelektromontazhnaladki, Republican plant “Belnipienergoprom”. This is direct discrimination against workers. Article 4 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus on Trade Unions says: The affiliation or non-affiliation of citizens with trade unions does not entail any restrictions on their labor and socio-economic rights.
For more information on the events of 16 January 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: