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01 December 2022, 14:19

Belarusian Paralympians appeal to European Court of Human Rights

MINSK, 1 December (BelTA) - The Belarusian Paralympic athletes have officially appealed to the European Court of Human Rights for the violation of their legal rights, Secretary General of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee Nikolai Shudeiko told the media on 1 December, BelTA has learned.

In his words, everything began in February 2022, when combined teams of Belarus and Russia were excluded from the main competitions, for which they had been preparing for four years, just hours before the opening of the 13th Winter Paralympics. This was a real shock not only to the Belarusian and Russian Paralympians, but also to many foreign counterparts, who were also outraged by this decision. “We did not feel that we were left alone with these problems, we saw that we were supported,” said Nikolai Shudeiko. Recently in Berlin, at an Extraordinary General Assembly of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Belarus and Russia were again subjected to completely unjustified sanctions - their IPC membership was suspended. The Belarusian Paralympic Committee has already sent an official protest against this unreasonable decision, taken under undoubted pressure of politicians.

“Attempts were to reproach us for keeping silent and not expressing our position. However, this is not true, because immediately after the events in Beijing, the Belarusian Paralympic Committee and the athletes themselves have repeatedly appealed to the leadership of the IPC, to other international bodies, but there was no response to any appeal,” said Nikolai Shudeiko. He added that the athletes have nothing to do with any decisions of the government agencies, they want peace and want to do their job, which is to train and to participate in competitions. Since personal rights were affected by the suspension from the tournaments, in particular from the Paralympics, all the athletes of the winter Paralympic team of Belarus filed personal claims to the European Court of Human Rights. These claims have been officially registered and accepted for filing.

“Today we are deprived of the right to compete, while no training can replace the competitive spirit. Only at major tournaments athletes grow professionally,” said Paralympic many-time champion Sviatlana Sakhanenka. In her opinion, it is difficult to find motivation in the current circumstances, because athletes have been deprived of the right to compete. For all athletes, especially for Paralympians, this is the main opportunity to self-fulfill and to show people with disabilities that you can overcome any difficulties. “We are not politicians, our main task is to show results. Now we cannot do anything, our right to perform has been taken away from us. All principles have been violated, while the Olympic Charter calls for peace and solidarity among athletes of all countries. We comply with all of our obligations; we were even ready to compete in neutral status - without the national flag and anthem. However, even this right has been taken away from us,” Sviatlana Sakhanenka said.

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