The BYSOL Foundation’s Evacuation Department was announced the winner of the “Human Rights Initiative of the Year” award. Malanka Media takes a look the activities of the BYSOL Evacuation Department, offering insights into how it operates and whom it can assist.
The team helps people whose rights are violated because of their political beliefs. The Evacuation Department concentrates its attention and support on people facing the threat of political persecution and those in need of protection. One can request help by filling out the Google form on the BYSOL website.
Throughout its existence, the team has handled over 1,800 applications. Not all stories about emergency departures appear in the media space.
“The details about the assistance we render are not publicly disclosed. The way we operate and the exact number of people who have left will be disclosed when the regime falls. Typically, for one evacuated person, there are at least five others who prefer not to discuss their departure publicly due to personal reasons or potential risks,” says a team representative.
Throughout the evacuation process, the BYSOL team maintains constant communication and always has multiple scenarios to effectively respond to evolving situations. The Evacuation Department monitors the person’s location and circumstances to facilitate prompt reactions or give recommendations based on the observed situation. In situations where a person has no sense of direction or experiences considerable stress, the team can utilize state-of-the-art technologies to track their location with an accuracy of up to one meter. Following the received instructions will make it relatively easy for a person to avoid getting lost.
Evacuation always presents a more difficult challenge than a mere relocation. In the team’s experience, there have been cases where people nevertheless decided to return to Belarus after some time.
“Remember that when you fled persecution because you were afraid of being detained, you had good reasons to feel that way. So, it’s better not to go back, even if you are not aware of active persecution. We have had several cases where people had to be evacuated twice. Once abroad, people typically feel safe in a new place. After a few months, a person goes back to Belarus and ends up in prison, spending three or four months in pre-trial detention… After the trial, they might be transferred to probation, and that’s when the evacuation team can provide assistance once again. However, re-evacuation is impossible if a person is immediately sent to prison. Moreover, it is always a more complex and risky process,” warn the representatives of the Department.