Statement of Bijan Djir-Sarai, Member of German Bundestag
The dualism between politics and sports has been the topic of many recent medial debates bringing up issues that have not been discussed much within the public sphere. This is also the case with Belarus. The situation in Belarus appears to be very clear and most striking: human rights are systematically restricted. The strict adherence and practice of the death penalty – like in the cases of Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov in March 2012 – is alarming. Since the independence of Belarus in 1991 many hundreds of people had to and still suffer torture and execution. Domestic actors are suppressed and deprived of their freedom of expression. At this stage the Government of Belarus does not deserve hosting the 2014 IIHF World Championship.
The government is requested to release all political prisoners, ensure transparent and fair proceedings and fulfill their duties as a member of the International and especially as a member of the European Community. Until the government signalizes serious intention to change the undemocratic and degrading situation in Belarus I claim the International Ice Hockey Federation to suspend the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship in Minsk.