Harassment against lawyers, Congress of Belarusian Studies, IdeaLab – Belarus civil society digest
Belarusian human rights defenders agree on joint principles of human rights work. Statkievič released after 5 days in jail. MOJ denies registration of United Civic Party’s women’s branch. BAJ assesses openness of governmental institutions for journalists.
24-hour carnival completes Vulica Brasil Urban Art Festival. Golden Age University in Hrodna opens enrollment of senior students for 9th round of informal education and activism program..
7th International Congress of Belarusian Studies releases its agenda with almost two dozens academic sections.
This and more in the new edition of Belarus civil society digest.
Principles of human rights work in Belarus released. Over 70 Belarusian human rights activists took part in the creation of the document to avoid contradictions between the people involved in the protection of human rights. The document presents a set of professional and ethical principles determining the requirements for human rights defenders and their professional activities and open for accession.
Human rights activists alarmed over new wave of harassment against lawyers. The Ministry of Justice reportedly ordered an extraordinary certification of a number of lawyers, which may void the licenses of some of them, including those involved in politically motivated cases. According to HRC Viasna’s Head Alieś Bialiacki, the pressure is related to the authorities’ fear of possible social protests.
Opposition activist Mikalaj Statkievič released after 5 days in jail, on 31 August. It was not ruled out that he would stay in jail for 15 more days for the protest action that took place in Minsk in July. This way, he would miss the street protest scheduled on 8 September.
The Justice Ministry again refused to register a UCP women’s organisation. Gender Partnership, which is the women’s organisation of the United Civil Party (UCP), applied for registration in the form of a public organisation. This was not the first attempt to register.
Human Rights Situation in Belarus: July 2017. According to the monthly monitoring of HRC Viasna, in July, there were cases of administrative penalties, including the detentions. At the same time, there were a number of positive developments like the 4th round of the EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels and the parallel Civil Society Forum in Minsk on the eve of the 26th Annual Session of the OSCE PA.
BAJ assessed openness of governmental institutions for journalists. According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) survey, the most open state bodies are the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Court system, and the Ministry of Sports and Tourism. The least open institutions in the country are the Operative and Analytical Centre at the President, the Ministry of Information, and the KGB.
1st Belarusian media hackathon IdeaLab will be held on 7-8 October. During a two-day event, journalists and civic activists will work together on media projects. Professional journalists, infographers, and designers will help to project teams. IdeaLab is organised in the framework of the joint project of the IBB School of Journalism, Practical Competences Studio NGO, the Third Sector Centre NGO and others.
24-hour carnival completes Vulica Brasil festival. On 2 September, the gala Carnival on Oktyabrskaya street in Minsk closed the 4th Urban Art Festival Vulica Brasil/ Brazilian Street. The festival was held from 17 August to 3 September and traditionally added new murals from Brazilian graffiti artists to the streets of Minsk. The festival’s initiator is the Embassy of Brazil in cooperation with a number of Belarusian civil initiatives.
(Not)Shot Poetry project launches open lectures. On 1 September, the music portal Tuzinfm.by organises the first of 12 weekly lectures dedicated to outstanding Belarusian poets, shot on 29 October 1937. The lectures are held under (Not)Shot Poetry project that has also released a music compilation of 12 songs on the lyrics of the poets, killed in the Stalin’s era.
DranikFest in Mahilioŭ. Organised by the Centre for Urban Initiatives for the third time, the fest of national Belarusian food – potatoes’ pancakes (draniki) will be held on 30 September, in Mahilioŭ. To participate in the competition part, one needs to gather a team of 2-5 people and has a bag of potatoes. The fest also includes an entertaining program with live music, dances, and games.
Local and green activism
Golden Age University recruits for 9th round. Starting from 2010, the program of non-formal education and civic activity is open to Hrodna residents of 55+. The agenda includes over 40 different courses, public lectures, and integration activities. Traditionally, the University is organised by Practical Competencies Studio/Third Sector Centre NGO (Hrodna).
Hackathon of social projects. On 16-17 September, The 10th Social Weekend contest invites to take part in Hackathon aimed to develop non-profit projects useful for society. The prize fund is $2,500 and the opportunity to get directly to the semi-final of Social Weekend 10. The previous social Hackathon gathered over 200 participants and generated 60 ideas.
Good Neighbor. The Office of European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) is launching a series of workshops with activists who will share their experience of solving local problems in various fields. The first event is held on 12 September, in Minsk and dedicated to the eco-friendly entrances and yards. The project is implemented with the support of the U.S. Embassy Small Grants Program.
II International Cycling Festival is held on 19-20 August near Minsk. The festival aims to support the development of cycling in Belarus and unite representatives of the cycle industry, Belarusian cycling organisations and initiatives and just fans of two-wheeled vehicles. The event is designed as eco-friendly. Organisers are the Velodisko project and the Minsk Cycling Society.
7th International Congress of Belarusian Studies releases agenda. The agenda includes almost two dozens of sections on topical issues of Belarusian politics, culture, and society. The Congress is an annual meeting of Belarusian and foreign scholars and experts, involved in studying Belarus. The 7th Congress will be held on 15-17 September in Warsaw, Poland and expects up to 600 participants.
7th International Conference in Economics and Finance took place in Minsk on 26 August. Organised by the Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC), the annual conference has become an important event stimulating economic research and professional discourse on the problems in the economy not only in Belarus but also worldwide.
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.