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Oleg Volchek

HRD & Head
Legal Assistance to the Population

Oleg Volchek is a human rights defender and Head of the human rights centre, Legal Assistance to the Population, which provides free legal assistance to citizens on matters of labour and housing, as well as civil and political rights. Despite the centre being arbitrarily banned by the authorities in 2003, it continues its work. In 1999, Oleg Volchek was in charge of an independent committee which investigated the forced disappearance of the former Belarusian Minister of Internal Affairs and one of the leading opposition politicians, Yury Zakharenko.

After the wave of violence that followed the presidential election of December 2010, the human rights situation in Belarus deteriorated rapidly and remains poor after the crackdown. Human rights defenders (HRDs) are subjected to intimidation and harassment, including judicial harassment, restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly, movement, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment. In the lead up to the 2015 presidential elections, 6 political prisoners, including President Lukashenko's main rival, were pardoned.