In September 2012, in its reply to PACE Recommendation 1992 (2012), the Committee of Ministers recalled that its strategic objective remains the integration of Belarus into the Council of Europe (CoE) on the basis of the Organisation’s values and principles, pursuant to the Declaration of the May 2005 Warsaw Summit. The Committee of Ministers also reiterated its call on the Belarusian authorities to take full advantage of their participation in the CoE’s co-operation mechanisms, as a stronger involvement of Belarus in the common European legal space through commitment to CoE standards can only be of benefit to the Belarusian people.
Status of cooperation
CoE activities for Belarus are implemented in the framework of the programming document, “The Council of Europe activities for Belarus”. The activities focus on raising awareness of CoE standards and practices among professional groups, public authorities, academia, youth and civil society in Belarus. A participatory approach to the implementation of the CoE activities will help to further promote CoE standards and to consolidate networking between the CoE and Belarusian partners.
Through a combination of expert advice, conference-type events, workshops, publications, study visits, the CoE’s activities are expected to achieve sustainable results and measurable impacts on the spot.
Co-operation with Belarus is structured around the CoE’s three operational pillars: Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy, featuring statutory and convention-based activities, co-operation activities and projects implemented in the framework of the Council of Europe Eastern Partnership Facility. The document includes also activities to be organised or facilitated in Belarus with the participation or support of the CoE Information Point in Minsk.
The statutory and convention-based activities include the participation of Belarus in different CoE organs and conventions such as GRECO, the European Cultural Convention, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.
As a party to the European Cultural Convention, Belarus is invited to all steering committee meetings under this convention.
The co-operation activities cover priority areas as outlined by the Committee of Ministers in the documents DPA/Inf(2011)08 and DPA/Inf (2012)06 such as: abolition of the death penalty, independent media, civil society and human rights, cultural co-operation and youth, judiciary, local self-government, gender equality, combatting drug abuse and trafficking, the fight against corruption and the fight against cybercrime.
Belarus is a participating country in the Council of Europe Eastern Partnership Facility 2011 – 2014 (CoE-European Union programme) which aims to provide support to the reform processes in the Eastern Partnership countries, including Belarus, bringing them closer to CoE and European Union standards in core areas, such as elections, judicial reform, the fight against corruption and the fight against cybercrime. Belarus is participating in the Council of Europe Eastern Partnership Facility thematic projects, the fight against corruption and the fight against cybercrime.
Council of Europe Information Point in Minsk
The aim of the Information Point is to raise awareness of government institutions, non-governmental organisations, mass media, universities and other institutes of higher education and citizens of Belarus and to provide them with information on fundamental values, legal instruments, achievements, policy and activities of the Council of Europe by means of:
- organisation and conduct of CoE events in Belarus ;
- translation, publication and distribution of CoE information materials ;
- dissemination of CoE audio and video materials ;
- visits of Council of Europe representatives to Belarus and Belarusian State University representatives to the Council of Europe;
- work with information requests from public organisations and citizens.