The European Future of Belarus, Supporting Belarusians in Exile, Holding the Regime Accountable
The agenda of the democratic forces in exile is quite extensive, covering advocacy for a European future for Belarus, simplifying the legalization of Belarusians and businesses in Western countries, training management personnel for the new Belarus, and addressing issues of gender equality. The main tool of pressure on the regime is to force the issue of bringing them to international responsibility.
Valery Kavaleuski, Representative of the United Transitional Cabinet (UTC) for Foreign Affairs, participated in the 15th annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum. During his speech and meetings, Kavaleuski outlined the priorities of interaction between Belarusian democratic forces and the European Union:
- Practical actions for European integration of Belarus;
- Urgent need for EU action to counter the Russian threat to the independence of Belarus;
- Migration issues and the project of a new national passport of Belarus;
- Increasing sanctions pressure and attracting international mechanisms of responsibility for the crimes of the regime;
- Strengthening support for civil society in Belarus to liberate the country from dictatorship and dependence on Russia.
Kavaleuski noted that the democratic forces of Belarus are counting on the support of the international community for Belarus to join the European Union. It is now necessary at the political level to consolidate Belarus’s membership in the European family. Democratic Belarus will be the strongest sanction against Russia.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarusian democratic forces, spoke at the largest technology conference in Europe, Web Summit, in Portugal. She discussed the human rights situation in Belarus, the fate of political prisoners, and the need for immediate and decisive action against dictators. She also highlighted the role of technology in the Belarusian resistance, focusing on the “Voice” platform, crowdfunding platforms, the “Belarusian Gayun” project, and the “New Belarus” application. Tsikhanouskaya called on technology companies to support Belarusian independent media, bloggers, and journalists. Separately, she called for support for Ukraine and added that its victory could provide a chance for change in Belarus.
During her visit to Portugal, Tsikhanouskaya met with the Prime Minister of Portugal, parliamentarians, and government representatives, discussing the following issues:
- European choice of Belarus;
- assistance to Belarusian citizens and businesses in legalization in Portugal, including the possibility of recognizing expired passports and issuing foreigner passports;
- the situation of political prisoners and partisan activities inside Belarus;
- organizing a joint conference on democratic transition and reconciliation.
As a result of her visit, the group “For Democratic Belarus” appeared in the Portuguese Parliament.
Deputy head of the defense industry of Belarus, head of the People’s Anti-Crisis Management (NAU) Pavel Latushka, together with his deputy Artem Praskalovich, held a meeting with the Polish Ombudsman Marcin Wiącek. During the meeting, the following were discussed:
- proposals to simplify administrative procedures for Belarusians in Poland;
- crimes against humanity committed by the Lukashenko regime (against Belarusians);
- materials concerning the deportation of Ukrainian children;
- difficulties in investigating cases within the framework of universal jurisdiction in Poland and ways to solve them.
The parties agreed to hold meetings between NAU lawyers and representatives of Polish law firms to achieve the main goal – to bring representatives of the regime to justice for crimes against Belarusians.
The Association of Belarusian Businesses Abroad (ABBA) has opened a representative office in Silicon Valley (California, USA). In particular, the representative office will organize the Belarusian Business Forum in Washington.
Training of participants in the second cohort of the “Personnel Reserve” program has begun. One hundred sixty-eight people joined the project and passed the entrance test. The training program is aimed at professional development in the field of state and local government.
A feminist faction has been created in the Coordination Council. It has 10 co-founders and operates on the principle of distributed equality. Its goal is to advocate for gender equality in the future Belarus. The fem faction plans to conduct a gender audit of the internal documents of the Coordination Council, create a code of ethics (gender constitution), and create a manifesto for the vision of a feminist and queer (gender identification different from the majority) Belarus.
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