A newly published report from the Index on Censorship explores the harsh situation for democracy activists in Belarus and how the regime plans even further restrictions on Internet freedom. By surveillance, blocking of websites and cyber-attacks against opposition websites, the authorities accelerates its oppression of the Belarusian people.

Read the policy paper

Today the authorities in the town of Shklou, Belarus, sentenced Mikola Statkevich, former oppositional presidential candidate, to a three-year prison term in  “closed regime”. (more…)

On January 6, 2012 a new amendment to a law restricting Internet access in Belarus came into force. According to the Global Legal Monitor (of the Law Library of the US Congress) the law “imposes restrictions on visiting and/or using foreign websites by Belarusian citizens and residents. Violation of these rules is recognized as a misdemeanor and is punished by fines of up to US$125”. (more…)

News about Belarus

December 6th, 2011   Free Belarus

The work of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in Belarus is focused on providing the knowledge and the tools needed in the struggle for democracy. Due to general lack of democratic tradition in Belarus, such knowledge must be built from the bottom-up. This is a slow process with many pitfalls. By teaching the political handiwork and by mediating contacts with politicians abroad, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation is preparing the opposition for the work ahead after Lukashenko. Experience from the Baltic States tells us that such preparations are crucial when it comes to making up for time lost during dictatorship.

An important part of the Foundation’s work is the forming of alliances and discussing cooperation. Cooperation between political parties is not only an important factor in the struggle for democratization but coalitions are an integral part of political work in a democratic system. Furthermore, the party leadership is provided with the possibility to inform those outside of Belarus of the current situation

16 new individuals have been added to the list of those who are responsible for repressions and human rights violations in Belarus. The individuals on this list are banned from traveling to the EU. In addition, the assets in the European Union, of the listed persons, will be frozen.

Today the Council of the EU has reviewed sanctions against the Belarusian regime for its crackdown on opposition, repressions against civil society and independent journalists, as well as violations of international electoral standards during the presidential elections 2010.

Nearly 200 people were already subject to an asset freeze and travel ban.

Read the pressrelease

On the third day of the Book Fair, JHS focused on Belarus and Internet Freedom.

In a seminar in the morning, Andrey Dmitriev, member of the opposition in Belarus, and Brit Stakston, expert on social media, discussed under lead of Cecilia Brinck, Member of the Swedsih Parliament. (more…)

The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and Freedom House have presented a groundbreaking report: “Democratic Change in Belarus – A Framework for Action”. The document is based on the findings and researches of the Belarus Working Group by gathering the leading scholars, analysts, practitioners, and issue experts identifying sustainable and impactful Western strategies for supporting Belarusian civil society and dealing with “Europe’s last dictatorship.”

 The ongoing political repressions and violations against human rights in Belarus has intensified the attention of the U. S. and the European Union to “Europe’s last dictatorship.” (more…)

The Belarus economy is tumbling down. Though, President Lukashenka is denying the crises: Since January 2011, in order to deal with the financial meltdown the government has devaluated the national currency by 56% against the US dollar. As a result of this the prices in the stores are rising, and the Belarusians are suffering.

“Crisis in Belarus?! You know, a crisis is when enterprises are closed down because there is no demand for their goods, when it is impossible to sell products and people are forced into the streets,” said Aliaksandr Lukashenka during a recent press-conference at the National Library in Minsk denying any economic problems in the country.

Belarus has been struggling for some months to pull out of the foreign currency crisis, which is mostly fuelled by President Lukashenka’s populist economic policies. The result is a massive devaluation of the Belarus roubel against the dollar. The country has lost more than a quarter of its foreign currency reserves compared to before the devaluation in May. On June 1, reserves stood at $3.6 billion, down from $5.0 billion on January 1. (more…)