RIGA - In denying Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mogilev reentry into Belarus, the country's authorities are breaching fundamental freedoms, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) believes.
As LETA was told at the Foreign Ministry, at Rinkevics' initiative, International Alliance for Religious Freedom has released a joint declaration denouncing the Belarusian authorities' decision.
According to the declaration, the alliance is highly concerned about the breach of fundamental freedoms in Belarus. The authorities of Belarus are putting pressure on religious structures, which they suspect of sympathizing with the opposition, the alliance says.
On August 31, Belarus authorities denied Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus and a citizen of the Republic of Belarus, re entry to Belarus without explanation.
The declaration refers to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides the right to manifest their religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
Furthermore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. In addition, refusal to Archbishop Kondrusiewicz reentry to Belarus is against the Constitution of Belarus.
"The Belarusian authorities should respect that all Belarussian people must be allowed to exercise their fundamental freedoms, including freedom to worship. The ban on entering Belarus prevents Archbishop Kondrusiewicz from carrying out pastoral ministry and participation in planned Church events of the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mogilev," the alliance says in the declaration.
The alliance calls for the global advocacy to protect the right of freedom of religion or belief for all and to advance accountability for those who fail to support freedom of religion or belief, as well as to serve as a platform to better coordinate the efforts of governments, parliamentarians, and civil society in advancing these rights.