Action on Belarus!
Norwegian PEN, Human Rights House Foundation and Norwegian Helsinki Committee invite you to the conference
More than a year has passed since the violent crackdown on protesters on 19 December 2010 in Minsk. Since then, the human rights situation in Belarus has continued to spiral downwards. Political opposition leaders Andrei Sannikov, Mikhail Statkevich and several others remain imprisoned. Human rights organizations and independent media are being harassed. The leading human rights defender Ales Bialiatski has been convicted to a long prison sentence. The European Union takes the lead on action against Belarus, and has imposed sanctions like ban on visa for more than 200 officials and limitations on trade with companies close to the President. Still, there are no signs that President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for twelve years, is planning to unclench his iron fist. Instead, the crisis in the relationship between Belarus and Europe has deepened, and at the same time the doubt about Belarus’ ability to save its’ internal economy becomes stronger.
Is the pursued policy efficient? Is Norway’s policy towards Belarus clear enough? How can we offer more support to freedom-longing Belarusians? And is the Belarusian people ready for a change?
08.30-09.00 Coffee, registration
09.00-09.05 Welcome from the organizers
Speaker: William Nygaard, Norwegian PEN board member
Part 1: Understanding Belarus
Moderator: Per Anders Todal, writer
Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General, Council of Europe
Facts on the ground – four voices from Belarus
Adam Globus, writer
Yury Zisser, owner of the Belarusian online resource www.tut.by
Tatsiana Reviaka, Human Rights Centre Viasna
Natallia Radzina, journalist, www.Charter 97.org
International challenges – Europe
Andres Herkel, Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
International challenges – the Nordic countries
Dagfinn Høybråthen, MP – Christian Democratic Party, Nordic Council of Ministries
Questions from the floor
A «standup-lunch» with sandwiches, coffee/tea and soft drinks will be served at the venue.
Part 2: The solutions
11.45-14.15 Looking at the different angles
From the Norwegian government
Torgeir Larsen, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
From the Norwegian Parliament and political opposition
Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, MP , the Conservative Party, chair of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense, Norway
From the young politicians of Belarus
Andrej Kim, blogger and youth activist
From the Human Rights perspective
Anna Gerasimova, director, the Belarusian Human Rights House in exile, Vilnius
From the OSSE-perspective, Representative from Ireland
From the EU-perspective
Erika Ellamaa-Ots, Deputy Chair of the EU Eastern European and Central Asia Working Group, EEAS
From the Russian perspective
Pavel Sheremet, journalist
Break. Fresh fruit and drinks will be served.
The financial perspective – an introduction to the panel discussion
Ales Mihalevich, independent presidential candidate from 2010
14.15-15.45 The way ahead – a panel discussion
A. Herkel, Natallia Radzina or Tatsiana Reviaka, OSSE and EU (TBA).
Questions from the floor
15.45-16:00 Summing up
The way ahead – practical and political challenges
Speaker: Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General, Council of Europe
Closing remarks by the organizers
Speaker: Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General, Norwegian Helsinki Committee
There is no conference fee, but all participants need to register at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 20th March.
The conference is organized and hosted by the Human Rights House Foundation (HRH), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) and Norwegian PEN, supported by the Norwegian Union of Journalists, the Norwegian Publishers Association and the Norwegian Non-fiction Writers And Translators Association (NFF) in cooperation and with financial support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord) and the Norwegian Association of Media Organizations.