Involuntary Disappeared Belarusians were commemorated in Eindhoven


On September 16 2013, which marked the 14th anniversary of the disappearance of Viktor Gonchar and Anatoly Krasovsky, the city of Eindhoven, Netherlands, commemorated the two men, as well as disappeared Yuri Zakharenko and Dmitry Zavadsky. It was already the 6th commemoration ceremony in Eindhoven dedicated to the Belarusians. The ceremony traditionally took place at the site of the living memorial — the four trees — dedicated to the disappeared. This year the ceremony was attended by Irina, Kseniya and Valeriya Krasovskaya and Svetlana Zavadskaya.

The wife of involuntary disappeared Anatoly Krasovsky Irina Krasovskaya opened the ceremony with her speech.

«The time is going fast, but the pain stays with us, — said Irina. — We were not able to say good-bye to our beloved ones. We have never found out how were their last hours. We do not know where are their graves. Nevertheless, we do know who are responsible for their disappearances…»

«The cases of political disappearances have never been properly investigated by the Belarusian authorities. Belarus has never properly responded to the numerous decisions by the UN HRC, Interparliamentary Assembly, General Assembly of the European Council and other international institutions. Belarus put herself beyond the international law: high ranking officials including so called president are suspected to be involved in the kidnapping and murder of Yuri Zakharenko, Viktor Gonchar, Anatoly Krasovsky and Dmitry Zavadsky…»

«But Belarusian regime should know that there is no amnesty or statute of limitation for enforced disappearances. And this gives us a hope. Together with other relatives of disappeared from all over the world we are fighting for truth and justice for every case of enforced disappearance. And we have some results: the UN International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances entered in force in December 2010 and is at the moment signed by 92 countries and ratified by 40. Unfortunately Belarus is not in this list. But with your help and support we are continuing our struggle, and one day we will reach the world without disappearances.»

«Every year we come here we can see that these oaks are changing — they are getting bigger and nicer. Only our beloved ones remain the same we remember them — young and bright and full of the hope for free and independent Belarus.»

The speech of Irina Krasovskaya was followed by the speech of the wife of involuntary disappeared Dmitry Zavadsky Svetlana Zavadskaya.

«For me it is the first time that I see the trees, — said Svetlana, — and I am overwhelmed with emotions that are hard to keep under control. After all, in Belarus there is no place where we, relatives of those who were involuntary abducted and deprived of their life for their beliefs, could come to honor their memory. All that is left to us is to stand with the portraits of our loved ones, silently recalling the Belarusian authorities that the criminals are still free, and we are still waiting for justice. Such peaceful actions are however ruthlessly suppressed. Only for the fact that you’re standing with a portrait of a disappeared, you can be thrown into jail, subjected to beatings and humiliation. The authorities are afraid of any reminders of the disappeared.»

«Those who kidnapped our loved ones and took their lives, would like that there was not a place on the map of the world where we could honor the memory of our loved ones. However, despite everything, there is such a place for the past five years. And if there is such a place, then the belief persists that no matter how the Belarusian authorities interfere with the accomplishment of justice, we will once face the day when those responsible will answer for these atrocities.»

Mary-Ann Schreurs (Municipality Eindhoven), Christie Midema (Amnesty International) and Wim Dekkers (FNV Bondgenoten) also prepared their touching speeches for the event covering the current situation with the human rights violations in Belarus.

Catharina Boer read her poem Torch which she wrote on the occasion of this year commemoration. Daughter of Anatoly Krasovsky Valeriya read a poem in Belarusian by Vital Ruzhkou inspired by the sad theme of involuntary disappearances. Dutch poet Leo Mesman read the English translation of this poem, and also — traditionally — his own poem Four Trees which he dedicated to the disappeared Belarusians in 2008 and which is engraved on the board at the site of the memorial.

The ceremony was followed by the reception in the town hall, where Martin Voorbij presented his project «Show Your Hope» — a collection of paintings made by emigrated artists from all over the world, including Belarus.

All the participants of the event got a souvenir — a booklet with the poems in Dutch, English and Belarusian written for the occasion of the 2013 commemoration.

The event was organized by Amnesty International, FNV Mondiaal, Mission to Minsk and We Remember.

On the images (from top to bottom):
Irina Krasovskaya (We Remember)
Svetlana Zavadskaya (We Remember)
Mary-Ann Schreurs (Municipality Eindhoven),
Wim Dekkers (FNV Bondgenoten)
Poet Leo Mesman
Poet Catharina Boer
Participants of the event releasing the white baloons into the air
Martin Voorbij presenting his project «Show Your Hope»