Event on Dutch foreign policy and democracy in Belarus

13. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice.
b. Support local, regional and global civil society, and promote the meaningful participation of all interested individuals and organizations in decision making.
c. Protect the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, association, and dissent.

16. Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace.

a. Encourage and support mutual understanding, solidarity, and cooperation among all peoples and within and among nations.

On December 19, 2010 the Presidential elections took place in Belarus. The country is known as a European authoritarian state famous for permanent human rights violations, unsolved cases of the missing political leaders and activists and full state control over mass media and civil society.

Prior to the elections The Worldconnectors Roundtable for People and the Planet, Youth International Education Club NEWLINE and the Earth Charter youth network in the Netherlands organized an event called Belarus Connection on December 10th 2010 in Amsterdam.

This networking event was organized to discuss the issues related to Dutch foreign policy, development cooperation and democracy in Belarus. The participants were asked to raise their voice to support stronger partnership between the Netherlands and Belarus for democracy, human rights, and non-violence.

The event focused on discussing on the following topics: Will the upcoming elections bring change? And can the Netherlands, as the second biggest economic ally of Belarus, contribute to this change?

The event gathered over 150 young people, representatives of various Dutch initiatives for human rights, democracy and sustainable development interested in working or working with Belarus. Amnesty International in the Netherlands has promoted the petitions that the participants could sign during the event.

After meeting, NEWLINE-Netherlands carried out a public campaign to support democratic elections in Belarus. The campaign’s video:

To follow the news and updates about this initiative, you are welcome to check the event’s webpage and Belarus Connection Facebook page .

Flyer of the event
Press release with background information, agenda and list of speakers

Pictures borrowed from the event’s Facebook group and take by Ed Lonnee.