Vilnius to host 4th Belarusian Human Rights Forum

21/10/2017

On October 19-21, Vilnius will host the IV Belarusian Human Rights Forum, which is expected to be attended by 140 representatives of 29 Belarusian human rights organizations, NGOs with a human rights component in their work, as well as individual human rights defenders and experts. The Forum will bring together representatives of the Belarusian civil society organizations, as well as partners from foreign and international human rights organizations. 

The objectives of the Forum are:

  • Evaluation of the human rights situation in Belarus;
  • Discussion of the challenges faced by the human rights movement of Belarus;
  • Discussion of the issues of communication and cooperation, exchange of experience and best practices.

The Forum will present the results of research of the human rights sector in Belarus. Particular attention will be paid to the discussion of principles of Belarusian human rights defenders.

The agenda of the plenary debate includes discussions entitled “Where Are We Going: Options for the Development of the Human Rights Sector for the Next 5-10 Years” and “Human Rights in Belarus in an International Context.”

The Forum will feature 11 side events, which will address issues relating to the activities of offices providing legal aid, the right to information in Belarus, solidarity during waves of repression, new challenges for human rights in the digital age, human rights education, and gender identity. The events will evaluate the experience of using the criteria for determining political prisoners and assess the Soviet-era repression as the foundation of today’s human rights violations. Attention will be paid to the expansion of a human rights approach among human rights activists and partners, human rights public campaigns, issues of human rights violations in the course of criminal proceedings for drug trafficking.

The agenda will also include the presentation of the series “Belarusian Prison Literature” and the prison diary of former political prisoner Dzmitry Drozd, as well as a workshop by the DSS375 digital security school run by the Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House.

The Forum will culminate in the adoption of a resolution.

The Organizing Committee consists of the Assembly of Democratic NGOs, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, the Belarusian Documentation Center, the Committee to Protect the Repressed “Solidarity”, and the Legal Transformation Center.

The first Belarusian Human Rights Forum took place in 2004 near Minsk, the second – in 2010 in Vilnius, the third – in 2013 in Vilnius.