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An: Swiss Ice Hockey Federation SIHF

Don't play with the dictator - boycott the Ice Hockey World Cup in Belarus

On Monday, January 18, the International Ice Hockey Federation IIHF announced that it was withdrawing Belarus from hosting the World Championship. This is a direct result of the great pressure that was put on the IIHF from all sides - also thanks to our campaign. Thank you very much for your support!

Don't play with the dictator - boycott the Ice Hockey World Cup in Belarus

Version française: https://act.campax.org/p/bielorussie-hockeysurglace
Deutsche Version: https://act.campax.org/p/belarus-eishockey-wm

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Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Mr Bloch

The political situation in Belarus is deeply worrying. Since the systematic electoral fraud by Lukashenka's regime in August last year, thousands of people have been demonstrating on the streets, demanding the dictator's resignation and new democratic elections to be held. The regime is trying to suppress the protests with repression. More than 33,000 people have already been arrested, more than 1,000 cases of state torture have been documented in 2020 and 183 people are currently held as political prisoners.

While human rights are being massively violated in Belarus, the Ice Hockey World Cup is scheduled in Belarus from May to June this year. Its supporters argue that sport and politics should not be linked. This is exactly why holding the World Cup in Belarus would be fatal. Lukashenka wants to misuse the World Cup for propaganda purposes, in order to stage his country as open and free, while a few metres away from the games being played, people have to fear for their lives because they are peacefully protesting against the rigged elections.

This can not happen! We call you to do everything in your power to prevent the World Cup from being held in Belarus. Call the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to withdraw the World Cup in Belarus or communicate otherwise publicly that Switzerland will boycott the World Cup if it takes place in Belarus.

We must not make ourselves accomplices of the dictatorship. Let us stand together to ensure that sport is not misused for propaganda purposes of a dictatorial regime.

Warum ist das wichtig?

René Fasel, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation IIHF, has so far supported the hosting of the World Cup in Belarus. In mid-January 2021, he even travelled to Minsk and was photographed embracing Lukashenka. He said that the World Cup should facilitate reconciliation between the regime and the opposition.

This attitude is naive and dangerous. The World Cup will not lead to dialogue between the regime and the opposition, but will serve as a propaganda stage for Lukashenka. Already in 2014, Lukashenka misused the Ice Hockey World Cup for his own purposes and staged himself as a president who was close to the people, while people who were undesired such as homeless human beings, were violently removed from the city.

Belarus will only regain peace when Lukashenka resigns, when the political prisoners are released and he paves the way for new democratic elections. The international community must support the people of Belarus in their struggle for freedom and democracy instead of providing a propaganda stage for the dictator at the World Cup. Denmark has already announced that it will boycott the Ice Hockey World Cup if it is held in Belarus. Switzerland must do the same and stand up against the World Cup in Belarus.

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The petition was initiated by the organization "Libereco - Partnership for Human Rights", which engages for human rights in Belarus and Ukraine, and the campaign organization Campax.

More information at www.lphr.org and www.campax.org.

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2021-01-19 08:39:57 +0100

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