In September 2012, in its reply to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Recommendation 1992 (2012), the Committee of Ministers (CM) recalled that its strategic objective remains the integration of Belarus into the Council of Europe on the basis of the Organisation’s values and principles, pursuant to the Declaration of the May 2005 Warsaw Summit. The CM also reiterated its call on the Belarusian authorities to take full advantage of their participation in the Council of Europe’s co-operation mechanisms, as a stronger involvement of Belarus in the common European legal space through commitment to Council of Europe standards can only be of benefit to the Belarusian people
Status of co-operation
Until the end of 2018, co-operation with Belarus was structured through the Council fo Europe Action Plan for Belarus. The Action Plan for Belarus 2016-2017 was adopted by the CM during its 1268th meeting on 18 October 2016. The validity of the Action Plan was extended until the end of 2018, by decision of the CM at its 1303rd meeting on 10 January 2018, in order to continue progress towards the objectives set therein. The Action Plan is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the Belarusian authorities. The document is a strategic programming instrument, allowing for an inclusive and structured approach to co-operation.
Co-operation with Belarus is structured around the Council of Europe’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/European Union Partnership for Good Governance. The document includes also activities to be organised or facilitated in Belarus with the participation or support of the Council of Europe Information Point in Minsk.
The statutory and convention-based activities include the participation of Belarus in different Council of Europe organs and conventions such as the Group of States against Corruption (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 a number of priority areas, including: abolition of the death penalty, independent media, civil society and human rights, cultural co-operation and youth, judiciary, local self-government, gender equality and the fight against corruption, money laundering and cybercrime.
A follow-up Action Plan is being discussed with Belarusian authorities.
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 Council of Europe events in Belarus;
- translation, publication and distribution of Council of Europe information materials;
- dissemination of Council of Europe 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.