Invitation to the public debate – Belarus: Trading Human Rights for Economic Support?

People in need in cooperation with DEMAS and Forum 2000 Foundation, within the Forum 2000 Conference “Democracy and the Rule of Law” helds a discussion on Belarus.

Tuesday October 11, 2011

19.45 – 21.15


The attempt of the EU to pursue a two-track policy with the Belarusian regime failed completely after the presidential elections on December 19th 2010. In exchange for promised economic cooperation, it was believed Alexander Lukashenko was to guarantee free presidential elections and focus on improving relations with the West. The contrary was true, the crackdown on peaceful demonstrations after the elections and harassment of civil society gave a clear answer to the “stick and carrot” policy of the EU. The Belarus regime also started to prosecute Ales Bialacky, head of major human rights organization Viasna. Earlier this year, however, Belarus was hit by economic problems and its currency abruptly lost over 50% of its value. Impacting the usually politically non-engaged section of society, this economic trouble provoked a wave of “silent” protests across Belarus this summer. In August and September the regime released over twenty political prisoners arrested in December.