IGDA (The International Game Developers Association), world’s biggest game developer community, published a statement on violence and human rights in Belarus.
Video games are a medium of innovation, creativity, technology, and self-expression. Game developers cannot thrive without the freedom to express themselves. It is heartbreaking to know that developers and other citizens have been violently beaten and arrested for their peaceful protests. Cutting internet access not only silences the voices of the people, but it also damages the livelihoods of developers who rely on it.
The citizens of Belarus must have a say in their country’s future. We here at the International Game Developers Association stand by them and those who fight to make their voices heard.
At the same time, IGDA Belarus Chapter called on Alexander Lukashenko and the Republic of Belarus to:
- Stop aggressions against peaceful protesters.
- Release all political prisoners– among whom are numerous game developers and other game industry specialists who became subjects of torture and unprecedented violence while detained by State forces.
- Investigate all incidents of torture and excessive violence.
- Hold a new, fair and transparent election. Elections are the basis of democracy and required for the development of the economy, including the gaming industry.
- Investigate the administration of Belarus High Technologies Park and their use of their powers to suppress human rights by threatening to remove companies who have workers that protest.
- Investigate the Internet access restrictions that began on the 9th of August.
- Assurance access to the Internet will never be restricted again, as it is key for the human and civil rights of citizens.
If these demands are ignored, the Chapter said it will be forced to advise all its industry partners to avoid engagements with Belarus. The organization is prepared to help local game studios and developers relocate to other countries. IGDA Belarus will also use its channels to advise against investing in and dealing with the Republic of Belarus.
“Games are developed where creativity and technology meet,” the statement reads. “They cannot be developed and our industry cannot thrive in a place where freedom is stifled. “