Non-Governmental Organisations

The participants in the meeting of the Civil Society Communication Platform, "The State of Civil Society in Belarus" held in Warsaw on 26 and 27 October 2012

    1. Demand that the Belarusian authorities release all political prisoners that are being held throughout the country and take serious commitment that no other civil society activists are imprisoned in the future for political reasons;

    2. Express deep concern about the fate of the family of Andrei Sannikau, who had applied for asylum in Great Britain at the time of the Warsaw conference;

    3. Condemn the practices of the Belarusian authorities that make emigration the only possible option for some civil society actors;

    4. Reaffirm the importance of the flow of free information as critical for the development of civil society in Belarus;

    5. Urge the Belarusian authorities not to ignore the grassroots initiatives which help in developing vibrant local communities, which are a basic element of democracy;

    6. Call on the international community to increase support for the independent media in Belarus and to widen Belarusians' access to non-state local and foreign TV and radio stations;

    7. Stress the critical importance of development of independent culture and structures developing culture in creating conditions for social changes to happen in Belarus;

    8. Stress that conditions for full women’s' participation in the public life should be achieved as a precondition for democracy, economic and social development;

    9. Demand that the Belarusian authorities abandon the "facade dialogue" approach with both local civil society and with the international community;

    10. Express the wish for Belarus to achieve democratic standards that would make full membership of the Council of Europe possible, particularly by:

    - allowing civil society to carry on normal activities on a daily basis;
    - abolishing execution of the death penalty;

    11. Repeat the call on the Belarusian authorities to repeal the Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus;

    12. Urge the European institutions to be aware of the Belarusian legal specifics when considering Belarus-related projects; regretting examples of losing energy and resources dedicated to valuable projects due to the lack of sensitivity on this issue;

    13. Note that some groups of actors, such as independent trade unions, research centres, despite being a vital part of civil society do not receive adequate media and institutional attention and support in the West;

    14. Call on the Conference of INGOs to continue support to Belarusian civil society and to strengthen such support throughout all the other pillars of the Council of Europe.