Reinforcing the Role of Civil Society as a Watchdog of Democratic Principles in Belarus

The International High-Level Conference on Belarus took place (online) on 22 November 2021. The IDM in cooperation with GLOBSEC and Office of Sviatlana Tsihanouskaya organised a side-event on that occasion. B

elarus has undergone profound political changes in the past year. More than a year ago, the streets of Belarus were teaming with people protesting stolen presidential elections and asserting their voices matter. To stifle these voices, the government unleashed a war on civil society. The Belarusian government have arrested thousands of demonstrators and continues with repression against civil society, non-governmental organizations, and the independent media. With Belarus at a democratic crossroads, the international community needs to stand in solidarity with them, counter the government’s attempts to eviscerate civil society, provide unwavering, long-term support to Belarusian groups and activists.

Our experts:

– Pavol Demeš (German Marshall Fund of the United States)

– Mark A. Dietzen (International Republican Institute Vilnius, Lithuania)

– Vytis Jurkonis (Freedom House) – Aliaksandra Lohvinava (Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya)

– Renata Mieńkowska-Norkiene (University of Warsaw)

– Andrei Stryzhak (BySol – Belarus Solidarity Foundation)

discussed the following questions:

– How can civil society organizations operate in the current mode?

– What method should be used for clear formulation of the policy priorities for the transition period in the country and future reform agenda?

– How to broaden the networks and advocacy channels available to Belarusian democratic civil society in Western democratic countries?

– How to enhance skills of Belarusian analysts to deliver impactful analysis and advocate for the implementation of their recommendations?

– What role can Western institutions play in helping Belarusian civil society to ensure a positive democratic change?


Moderation: Sebastian Schäffer (Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe – IDM)