Belarus President’s greetings on Independence Day

MIL OSI – Source: President of the Republic of Belarus – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Belarus President’s greetings on Independence Day

2 July 2016

Dear compatriots,I cordially congratulate you on Independence Day of
the Republic of Belarus.
This year we are marking the 25th anniversary of
our country’s sovereignty. This holiday embodies the historical continuity and
the choice in favor of the independent development based on the principles of
justice, care for people, social and political stability and multitrack foreign
policy
3 July, the day of the liberation of the Belarusian
capital from the Nazis, is fateful in its meaning for our people. Following the
nationwide referendum this date was declared the Day of the Republic. Today, by
tradition, we pay tribute to the memory of those fallen on the battlefields in
the name of our Motherland and honor the feats of arms and labor of the veterans
of the Great Patriotic War.
Over the years of independence Belarus has achieved
great results in industry and agriculture, science and social sector, foreign
policy and defense. Belarus has become an island of peace and security where
citizens have confidence in their future and have every opportunity to receive
decent education, work and raise children.I am confident that we will
continue to move successfully along the path towards creation and dynamic
development of the Fatherland. I wish all of you strong health, inexhaustible
energy, happiness and wellbeing.
Happy Day of the Republic!
                              Alexander Lukashenko

Your Tomorrow, Global Belarusians Meeting, ADNaK! Winners – Civil Society Digest

MIL OSI – Source: Belarus Digest – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Your Tomorrow, Global Belarusians Meeting, ADNaK! Winners – Civil Society Digest

Stallholders hold a national forum in Minsk. Photo: belapan.by

City show releases final episode. First Ostrogorski Forum on Belarusian foreign policy and security. Your Tomorrow project assists in looking for a job for Belarusians who studied abroad. Vilnius hosts Global Belarusians Meeting. Art Siadziba offers assistance to BRSM in organising Vyshyvanka Day.
Imena online magazine is looking for investors. OEEC launches new educational course for female community leaders. 1,5 year and $2m donations – Belarusian Children’s Hospice opens its doors for small visitors. Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections campaign starts releasing weekly reports on observations of the upcoming Parliamentary elections. This and more in the new edition of Civil Society Digest.

The City show sums up results. In the final 11th episode, The City project shows how a children pirate ship was built in Braslaŭ, the Little Prince was painted in Kamianiec and if other participants continued implementation of their initiatives. The City project was attended by 17 participants from 11 cities; attracted local resources and volunteer help for around $6,000 and mobilised over 2,000 people in project activities.
Global Belarusians Meeting in Vilnius. EESC in cooperation with partners is holding the Global Belarusians Meeting, which takes place on 29 June – 1 July , in Vilnius, Lithuania. The meeting gathered renowned Belarusian experts of Belarusian culture and identity from Belarus, Lithuania, and other countries to discuss a joint Lithuanian-Belarusian past, contemporary Belarusian culture, etc. The official opening took place at Vilnius Town Hall.
Art Siadziba offers assistance to BRSM in organizing Vyshyvanka Day. The pro-governmental Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM) uses an idea of Art Siadziba CSO in its event and organises Vyshyvanka Day/Embroidery Day at the Palace of Sports on 2 July. In 2014, Art Siadziba conducted the similar event without any state support. Now CSO activists decide not to fight plagiarism but help make the event interesting.

First Ostrogorski Forum. On 29 June, the Ostrogorski Centre held a conference on Belarusian foreign policy and security. The conference featured five studies conducted in spring 2016 with grant support from the Mott Foundation and Pontis Foundation. Speakers discussed issues including Belarusian soft power in the region, Belarusian-Russian relations after the conflict in Ukraine, etc.
Your Tomorrow project was presented by the Salidarnaść Committee on June 29. The project aims to create a community of young professionals who studied abroad and willing to work in Belarus. A new project can be useful for more than 18 thousand Belarusians who received or are receiving education abroad. Surveys show that more than 50% of recent graduates would like to return to Belarus.
Solve Together: course for community leaders. Office of European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) invites grassroots leaders to participate in the educational course aimed to help female community leaders to increase their competencies in identifying and solving local problems, considering the interests of women and vulnerable groups. Priority in participation is given to women. Deadline for applications is 1 July .

Imena invites investors. The online magazine Imena/Names tells about Belarusians, who got in trouble and those who help others. During the first 2,5 months, the magazine has got 120 thousand unique users; 5 thousand followers in social networks and BYR 93m (roughly $4,700) collected in support of its heroes. The magazine requests support from its readers, in order not to depend on advertisers, international grants or subscription.
1,5 year and BYR 38.5bn (roughly $2m) donations: Belarusian Children’s Hospice opened. On June 16, the ceremony of the official opening of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice took place near Minsk. The hospice was built via crowdfunding, without state budget money. From July 1, Hospice will start taking seriously ill children and their parents. As a non-governmental non-profit organisation, the Belarusian Children’s Hospice provides its services for free.

aDNaK! announced the winners. On 30 June , an award ceremony of the Festival of Belarusian advertising and communications aDNaK! took place in Minsk. Initiated by Budzma campaign, for 7 years the festival is a communication platform that gathers professionals and beginners of the advertising market and encourages the creation of Belarusian-oriented advertising. This year Festival got 285 applications from 135 participants.
Non-food stallholders held another national forum in Minsk on 13 June. The event was hosted by Dom Moskvy (House of Moscow), a building owned by the Moscow city government. The forum was organised by a small business association called Perspektyva that campaigns against president’s Edict No.222 that introduced controversial rules for non-food stallholders.

Student activists make series about Bologna Process (video). Two series are already out. The protagonist, Mr. Bologne, explains how the university autonomy works and what the quality of education is. “Belarus joined the Bologna Process on May 14, 2015 but no serious reforms have been carried out so far,” the authors of the series noted.
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First report on the results of observation. The civil campaign Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections starts releasing the weekly reports on observations of the upcoming Parliamentary elections scheduled for September 11, 2016. The report of June 7-12 concludes that the current election campaign has a more favourable domestic political background as compared to last year’s presidential election.
People’s voting for the non-formal event of the year. More than 50 Belarusian educational projects/events are presented for people’s voting within the VI Festival of Non-Formal Education, which will be held in Minsk on 7-9 July. The voting is available via social networks until July 5. The awards ceremony will be held on 8 July, at the Festival.
Mahilioŭ authorities denied registration to a local Center For Gender Studies Ruža. According to the NGO’s head, Aliena Barysava, the ban referred to an absence of gender discrimination in the country, as “gender equality is guaranteed by the Constitution of Belarus”. Therefore, equality is secured by authorised government bodies, while eradicating discrimination is allegedly beyond the NGO’s competence.
Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

Belarus: new UN resolution highlights the country’s appalling human rights situation

MIL OSI – Source: Viasna Belarus Human Rights Center in English – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Belarus: new UN resolution highlights the country’s appalling human rights situation

Geneva – Minsk – Paris, 30 June 2016 — The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council reminded the international community of the appalling situation in Belarus today by adopting a resolution that raises a wide range of human rights violations committed in the country. By renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur — the only watchdog the international community has to follow developments in Belarus — the Council highlighted the need to continue monitoring the behavior of the Belarusian government.

“Today’s resolution is an important signal sent to President Lukashenko, in power since 22 years: irrespective of attempts to polish your reputation, you’ll remain under international scrutiny as long as you take no steps to guarantee the basic rights of your citizens”, said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

Today’s resolution was adopted with a large margin: while 15 states supported it, only 9 voted against, which shows widely-shared concerns with regard to the human rights situation in Belarus.[1] The resolution mentions a series of grave human rights violations for which the Belarusian government is responsible, including torture, enforced disappearances, forced labour, violations of freedoms of the media, expression and association, the arbitrary detention and harassment of human rights defenders, political opponents and journalists, and impunity for human rights violations and abuses. It also deplores the government’s lack of cooperation with UN and regional human rights mechanisms.

“The vote on Belarus was a test of the Human Rights Council’s resolve to push for progress at the national level”, said Ales Bialiatski, FIDH Vice-President and President of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”. “The ball is now in the government’s court. It should implement key recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur over the past years, which are a clear road map for human rights reform”, he added.

The Human Rights Council is the main UN body for the promotion and protection of human rights. It has the ability to appoint independent experts (“Special Rapporteurs”) in charge of monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in countries. The Human Rights Council is made up of 47 states, which serve for a three-year term. Belarus has been on the Council’s agenda since the violent repression of protests related to the 2010 presidential election.

Background:

To reveal the extent and gravity of the human rights violations that continue to be committed in Belarus and to call on Human Rights Council members to support the renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, in May 2016 FIDH launched a campaign entitled “Belarus: a dictatorship at the gates of the European Union”: www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/belarus/act4belarus/en

Watch the campaign video at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc9kBar82Qo

On its website, Act4Belarus also published 9 interviews of Belarusian activists who have witnessed a great deal, including: Alena Tonkacheva (Chairman of the Board of the Legal Transformation Center), Andrei Bastunets (Belarusian Association of Journalists), Raisa Mikhailouskaya (Belarusian Documentation Center), Valiantsin Stefanovic (Human Rights Center “Viasna”), Natalya Mankouskaya (Human Rights Center Identity), Inna Kulei (Solidarnost). All highlight preocuppying situations and rights that are systematically flouted: freedoms of the media and of expression, freedom of association, LGBTI rights, the right to life and the death penalty, political prisoners, etc.

[1]  – 23 states abstained (Algeria, Bangladesh, Botswana, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, United Arab Emirates).

   – States that voted in favour of the resolution: Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

   – States that voted against the resolution: Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, India, Nigeria, Russia, Venezuela, Vietnam.  

Observers report little political pluralism in formation of election commissions

MIL OSI – Source: Viasna Belarus Human Rights Center in English – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Observers report little political pluralism in formation of election commissions

Human rights defenders Valiantsin Stefanovich and Aleh Hulak
Observers of the Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections campaign have summed up one of the key stages of this year’s parliamentary election, which will significantly affect the final assessment of the vote. The experts analyzed the formation of election commissions taking into account the announced new approaches that were expected to be applied by local executive and administrative bodies.

Formation of territorial and district election commissions is the main mechanism of the electoral process, which significantly affects the defining characteristics of elections, including the level of freedom and their democratic nature.

The campaign’s report on the results of monitoring the formation of TECs and DECs highlights the general trends that can be traced at this stage of the election, and analyzes whether the new practices announced by the CEC have contributed to the political pluralism of the election process.

Speaking of the nomination of candidates to the commissions, the observers have noted a number of cases in which candidates from the United Civil Party and the Movement For Freedom were not considered at meetings where the commissions were formed, despite the fact that their applications on had been submitted within the established period.

“Some changes did happen, but the outcome of these procedures remained intact,” Aleh Hulak, chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the campaign coordinator said.

It is also stressed that during the discussion of the characteristics of candidates advantage was given to representatives of pro-government political parties and public associations. It is emphasized that the lack of clear selection criteria results in the selective approach in the formation of election commissions. Thus, the experts have concluded that the CEC’s Decree No. 18, which, inter alia, proposed to discuss the business and political qualities of applicants, in practice did not contribute to greater political pluralism in the formation of TECs and DECs.

“The law should provide for certain guarantees that would allow all actors involved in the elections have their representatives in the elections commissions,” says election expert Valiantsin Stefanovich.

Citing statistics, the analysts say that the representation of political parties in TECs and DECs remains low (24.2% and 13.6%, respectively) as compared to the representatives of public associations (51% and 54.3%, respectively).

As before, the main administrators of the elections are representatives of the five largest pro-government associations — Belaya Rus, Belarusian Republican Youth Union, the Belarusian Women’s Union, the Belarusian Public Association of Veterans, and the Belarusian Federation of Trade Unions. The total percentage of their representatives in the composition of TECs and DECs is 40% and 42.3%, respectively.

The observers deplore the “traditionally low” representation of opposition parties — 31.2% of the nominated amount in TECs and 19.4% — in DECs.

See more details in the analytical Report on the formation of territorial and district election commissions prepared by the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”.

The campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” is a non-partisan initiative and does not intend to support political parties and politicians. The entire election process is assessed solely on the basis of the principles of free, democratic and transparent elections, which can enable the people of Belarus to fully exercise their constitutional right to participate in the government of the country.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus V.Makei meets the Papal legate

MIL OSI – Source: Republic of Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs in English – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus V.Makei meets the Papal legate

01-07-2016
On July 1, 2016 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, met with Papal legate Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, paying a visit to Belarus between June 30 and July 3, 2016 on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of establishing the Minsk and Mogilev archdiocese.

During the meeting, the sides discussed ways of cooperation between Belarus and the Roman Catholic Church.
     

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus V.Makei meets the delegation of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce

MIL OSI – Source: Republic of Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs in English – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus V.Makei meets the delegation of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce

01-07-2016
On July 1, 2016 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, met with the delegation of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce headed by the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Volker Treier.

During the meeting, the parties discussed the prospects for activation of Belarusian-German trade and investment cooperation, as well as the implementation of future joint projects.
     

Elections Commissions Staffed By Appointees Of Authorities

MIL OSI – Source: United Civil Party Belarus – in English – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Elections Commissions Staffed By Appointees Of Authorities

Only 31 opposition members have been included into the territorial and district elections commissions.
According to the CEC website, two of the seven nominees of the Belarusian Left Party “Fair World”, as well as one of the three nominees of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Assembly”, and two of the five nominees of the Belarusian Popular Front have become members of the territorial elections commissions. The only nominee of the United Civil Party has not got into the squad of the territorial commission, BelaPAN news agency writes.
Also, seven of the seven nominees of the Communist Party of Belarus, five of the seven nominees of the Liberal Democratic Party, and five of the five nominees of the Republican Party of Labour and Justice have also become members of the territorial commissions. The Social Democratic Party of the People’s Consent and the Belarusian Social Sports Party have nominated one candidate each, and both of them have failed to get to the commissions.
As for the district commissions, 17 of 65 nominated representatives of the Belarusian Left Party “Fair World”, 4 of 14 nominated representatives of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Assembly”, 5 of 27 — of the BPF Party, have become members thereof. The only nominee of the United Civil Party has not got into the squad of the district commission either.
Also, 14 of 15 nominated representatives of the Belarusian Agrarian Party, 17 of 17 — of the Belarusian Social Sports Party, 77 of 110 — of the Communist Party of Belarus, 10 of 24 — of the Liberal Democratic Party, 4 of 7 — of the Republican Party, 42 of 64 — of the Republican Party of Labour and Justice, 5 of 8 — of the Social Democratic Party of the People’s Consent have got into the squads of the district elections commissions. The only nominee of the Belarusian Patriotic Party has not been included into the commission.
Thus, 31 of 117 representatives of the opposition parties have been included into the territorial and district elections commissions.
All the other parties have nominated 267 representatives to the commissions, 186 of them have made it through to the commissions’ squads.

Conferment of state awards

MIL OSI – Source: President of the Republic of Belarus – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Conferment of state awards

30 June 2016

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko presented state
rewards to the distinguished people of Belarus. The ceremony was held in the
Palace of Independence on 30 June.“Our
country is facing very demanding tasks which we recently discussed at the
Belarusian People’s Congress. Whether we reach the goals depends on the attitude
of each of us and our hard work. In life there are no sectors of secondary
importance. National defense and security, economy, education, science, culture,
sports, social security are crucial for the well-being of our state,” the head
of state noted. “It is a pleasure to
see people who have achieved remarkable professional results and who want our
country to grow stronger and develop at a quick pace. I am confident that
everybody in this hall is a successful and accomplished person,” Alexander
Lukashenko said addressing the participants of the ceremony.Awards were presented to forty representatives
from various areas in recognition of their many-year fruitful work, exemplary
performance, considerable personal contribution to mitigating the consequences
of the catastrophe at the Chernobyl NPP, achieving high performance results,
development of science, education, healthcare, culture and sportsThe head of state conferred the Order of the
Fatherland 3rd Class on Chairman of the Gomel Oblast Executive Committee
Vladimir Dvornik and Deputy Prosecutor General of Belarus Alexander
Lashin.Defense Minister’s Aide for
Ideology in the Armed Forces, Head of the Main Department for Ideology at the
Belarusian Defense Ministry Alexander Gura was awarded the Order for Service to
the Homeland 2nd Class. A number of Belarusian defense and law enforcement
officers were given the Order for Service to the Homeland 3rd Class.   The Order of Honor was bestowed on
executives of different levels, including Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy,
Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Anatoly
Rusetsky, and Information Minister Lilia Ananich.The Francysk Skaryna Order was presented to Viktor Tarantei, the
Head of the Pedagogy and Social Work Chair at Yanka Kupala State University of
Grodno. Professionals from different
walks of life, heads of organizations and institutions were awarded medals for
excellence in emergency prevention and management, for labor merits, the
Francysk Skaryna medal, and the titles Honored Artist, Honored Worker of
Education, Honored Lawyer, Honored Metallurgist, Honored Worker of Physical
Education and Sports, Honored Coach, and Master of Sports.

Balance of Payments of the Republic of Belarus with the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union, January – March 2016.

MIL OSI – Source: National Bank of the Republic of Belarus in English – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Balance of Payments of the Republic of Belarus with the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union, January – March 2016.








The balance of payments of the Republic of Belarus with the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union – a statistical statement that summarizes transactions between residents of the Republic of Belarus and the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union during a period.
The sixth edition of the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (IMF, 2009) (hereinafter – BPM6) provide the methodological framework for compilation of the balance of payments of the Republic of Belarus with the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Methodological approaches and statistical indicators of bilateral balance of payments of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation agreed annually with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. Statistical indicators of the bilateral balance of payments of the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kazakhstan presented based Belarusian side. Statistical indicators of the bilateral balance of payments of the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Armenia presented based Belarusian side. Statistical indicators of the bilateral balance of payments of the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kyrgyzstan presented based Belarusian side.
Statistical Information:
According to BPM6:

As of the reporting date
Dynamics

See also:
Eurasian Economic Union website
International Monetary Fund website
The sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (IMF, 2009)
Republic of Belarus and the IMF
Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Statistics Department of the IMF

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus V.Makei meets the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

MIL OSI – Source: Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs in English – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus V.Makei meets the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

30-06-2016
On June 30, 2016 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Lubomir Zaorálek, during his official visit to Minsk.
The parties discussed the current state of the Belarusian-Czech relations, ways to enhance political and economic cooperation, as well as the development of Belarus – EU dialogue.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs took part in the opening ceremony of the new building of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Minsk.