NGO Assembly, Here you can Be Served in Belarusian - Civil Society Digest

NGO Assembly was refused to hold its Congress the last minute.  “Here you can be served in Belarusian” campaign kicks off in Gomel. The Office for the Rights of People with Disabilities presents its survey on attitudes towards people with disabilities. EHU returns to Minsk – for the sake of an art presentation. 

Congress of the Assembly of NGOs cancelled. The 7th Congress of the Assembly of pro-democratic NGOs, which was to be held on May 5-6 at the Minsk International Educational Centre (IBB), did not take place. IBB management referred to the directions from Minsk city authorities and cancelled all former arrangements two days before the Congress.

Representatives of nearly 200 NGOs from all over Belarus were aiming to attend the Congress in order to discuss problems and further steps in development of the country s civil society. Now the organising committee of the Congress considers postponing the event further to June. According to the Assembly of NGOs newsletter.

Belarusian stickers for the stores. Civil campaign "Paperwork in Belarusian" starts a new phase of popularisation of the Belarusian language in the service and advertising. The activists developed a special sticker that says "Here, you can be served in Belarusian." The stickers will be offered to the stores, ready to communicate with customers in Belarusian. Now the new initiative is tested in Gomel.

EHU project in Minsk. On May 03-25, the Minsk Gallery "Ў" hosts an art and educational project Artes Liberales. The project starts with an exhibition of design works of students of European Humanities University. During three weeks the exposition will vary according to the agenda of the project, implemented by EHU students and teachers.

Viasna’s new editions. Human rights Centre "Viasna" marked its 16th anniversary with a presentation of two books – a photo album "For the Right to Elect: Portraits of Convicts" featuring photographs of participants in the post-election demonstration of December 2010 and a book "Our Viasna. History via people". The presentation was held on May 02 in Minsk and was attended by journalists, human rights activists, public figures, former political prisoners and their relatives.

IPM Research Center launched a new version of its website with the latest information on the studies of the Belarusian economy, economic reviews and forecasts developments in the economy, as well as announcements of IPM Research Center events.

"Free Word" Contest Winners. The day before the World Press Freedom Day, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) administrative board announced the winners of the yearly journalistic contest “Free Word”. The awarding ceremony took place in Minsk on May 03. Not only representatives of the independent, but also of the state-owned media have become the award winners, which illustrates BAJ’s aspiration to keep the professional standards in the whole journalistic community in Belarus.

Meeting on regional development and agriculture. On May 03, in Minsk, the "Clearing House" project conducted the working group meeting on regional development and agriculture for Belarusian organisations and initiatives. The discussion on the perspectives of regional and local development was followed by presenting different opportunities to participate in EU programmes and calls for proposals for organisations and initiatives working in the sphere of regional and local development. According to the Clearing House newsletter.

Small projects competition is announced for educational initiatives aimed at expanding the ideas of democracy and human rights, increasing civic competence, and the development of critical thinking among children, youth, teachers, parents, local communities. Project budget should not be more than $500. According to belngo.info newsletter.

Invitation to event in Brussels. On May 08, in Brussels, the Solidarity with Belarus Office (Warsaw, Poland) invites to attend a discussion on the current situation in Belarus: Lukashenka is ready to start a new game with the EU, who defines the rules? The leading Belarusian experts will share their views on the current political, economic and the human rights situation and the state of affairs in the media sector. The discussion will be followed by a presentation of the book ‘Belarus in Focus: through the eyes of international journalists’ representing 14 winning articles at an international competition Belarus in Focus.

The sixth stage of the German-Belarusian partnership. On May 01, Support Program for Belarus launched the sixth stage of the German-Belarusian partnership. As part of the stage the Support Program for Belarus of German Federal Government announces a call for proposals. The aim of the Program is to support non-state actors such as NGOs, networks and other institutionalised structures involved in the processes of sustainable development and promoting reforms at the national and regional level.

Information Meeting on NSA-LA Call for Proposals for Belarus. On May 11, the EU Delegation to Belarus will organise an information meeting on the ongoing call for proposals "Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development: In-country Operations for Belarus". The session will take place in Minsk, at the Hotel Viktoria, from 11.00 to 12.30.

Office for the Rights of People with Disabilities conducted a study to identify some aspects of attitudes towards people with disabilities in Belarus. The study was made by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS) and the Centre of European Transformation (CET). Research results show that the public consciousness of Belarusians is determined with an archaic charity view both on disability and people with disabilities.

Disability rally. On May 05, Republican Association of Wheelchair Users conducts a rally aimed at supporting the international disability movement in Europe for equal rights and against discrimination, paying attention to barrier-free environment for disabled people. The event will be held at the Friendship Park in Minsk, from 12.00 to 15.00.

Week against homophobia. On May 12-17, a human rights project "Gay Belarus" organises a series of educational activities titled "Action Week Against Homophobia in Belarus 2012." The events are devoted to the International Day against homophobia and transphobia, which is celebrated on May 17.

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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