Election Prediction Contest, Non-Formal Education, Vyshyvanka Day – Civil Society Digest

Official Vyshyvanka Day. Photo: belta.by

The Movement for Freedom invites to take part in an election prediction contest.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists can be admitted to the state-organised Supervisory Council on the media during the parliamentary elections. VI Festival of Non-Formal Education took place in Minsk.

Freedom Square to be filled: with classical music fans next eight Saturdays organised by Fund of Ideas. The first ever official Vyshyvanka Day is held in Minsk.

The UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur to Belarus. Amnesty International reports that activists in Belarus are subject to unchecked government surveillance.

Parliamentary elections

The Movement for Freedom invites to take part in an election prediction contest designed to mock the coming elections for the parliament. After the candidate registration stage, people will be able to go to www.2016.pyx.byand check the names of the candidates-winners of September's elections. In such a way, the opposition calls for sharing a laugh over the electoral farce and expressing protest against the existing system of appointing parliament members. According to BelaPAN NEWS mail out

Registration of nomination groups was more democratic. The campaign Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections reports that the process of registration of nomination groups (initiative groups) of candidates for the House of Representatives was more democratic than that during the previous election campaign. The vast majority of groups of opposition candidates were registered. Parliamentary elections will be held in Belarus on September 11.

BAJ can be admitted to take part in the Supervisory Council on the Media during Parliamentary elections. This was stated by the Central Electoral Commission's secretary Mikalaj Lazavik, responding to the related Belarusian Association of Journalists' appeal. The Supervisory Council on the Media is designed to enforce observance of media law and procedures of political agitation during elections.

Non-formal education

ECLAB recruits students for 2016-2017. In a new academic year, European College of Liberal Arts in Belarus (ECLAB) offers an additional education in such areas as modern society, ethics and politics, popular culture and media, etc. ECLAB is created as an informal alternative to the system of higher education existing in Belarus, which inherited a range of shortcomings from the Soviet epoch.

VI Festival of Non-Formal Education was held in Minsk. The Festival was held on July 7-9 and traditionally served as a platform for professional interaction of non-formal education’s providers. The opening ceremony gathered around 300 Belarusian and foreign participants; welcome speeches were delivered by EU Delegation, Education Ministry, IBB Center and others. The program included over 60 different events, including expert panels, workshops, master classes, and exhibitions.

Human rights

The UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur to Belarus. The resolution adopted on June 30, at the session on Geneva, raises a wide range of human rights violations committed in the country and highlights the need to continue monitoring the behaviour of the Belarusian government.

Activists in Belarus are subject to unchecked government surveillance with no independent oversight. In its report, published on July 7, Amnesty International documents that the Belarusian government uses telecoms companies to facilitate surveillance by demanding direct, remote-control access to customer communications and data. Against the background of an already restrictive legal environment, this creates a chilling effect that forces activists out of public life.

Civil society initiatives

Mediakritika.by joins the campaign against the hate speech. A Belarusian media watchdog MediaKritika launches a series of cartoons "Stop Hate Speech" to talk how the hate speech emerges, and why even a mild form of it could have a serious impact. The first visual story is available on the MediaKritika YouTube channel.

Mini-forum on the development of social entrepreneurship in rural areas will be held on August 10, near Minsk. The forum is to analyse the state of individual initiatives in villages and offer proposals for the development of social entrepreneurship there. Organiser – Social Business Technology CSO – invites to participation organisations and experts interested in the development of entrepreneurial activity in rural areas and solving social problems.

New gender-responsive program for local activists. The Office for European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) launched an educational program We Decide Together designed for community activists who are willing to promote the interests of women and vulnerable groups as a part of a local community. On July 9-10, the first group session was held. OEEC also released a summing up video on its Leadership in Local Communities program ended in June.

Belarusian Thinking Week. On September 19-25, the Belarusian Thinking Week will take place in Belarus and aims to present a variety of manifestations of today’s Belarusian thinking. The organisersEuroBelarus, Flying University, Budzma campaign, Mova Nanovacourses, and others – invite CSOs, research and cultural initiatives, business companies, and individuals to participate in the developing and implementing of The Week.

Interaction between state and civil society

Eight Saturdays with classic music. Jazz at the Minsk City Hall is replaced on classical music - this year's festival Classics in the Town Hall is spread over eight Saturdays – from July 9 to August 27. The open-air concert platform will host six orchestras. The tradition of holding public free concerts in the heart of Minsk was founded by Fond of Ideas four years ago and now picked up by other actors.

Presentation on the motivation of civil servants was held by SYMPA/BIPART on 1 July. The study covers 300 people and shows that the motivation of central authorities, local officials and employees of state organisations differ. Among the most effective tools for motivating are career advancement, financial motivation, and increasing personal responsibility.

First official Vyshyvanka Day in Minsk. The first ever Vyshyvanka Day/Embroidery Day event was conducted on July 2 at the state level by the Culture Ministry of Belarus and a pro-governmental youth BRSM. The celebrations combined an art parade, exhibition fair, fashion show, knights' fights, etc. The government plans to make the festival Vyshyvanka Day a new tradition - in the run-up to the Belarus’ Independence Day.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.


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