The Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation participated in the Gothenburg Book Fair, manning a stand at the so called International Square. In addition, the foundation arranged three popular seminars. All of the activities put focus on freedom of speech at the Internet and was a part of the Foundation campaign “Internet Freedom”!

Targeting students, the Foundation organized a seminar at the smaller stage of the International Square. Hanif Bali, MP from the Moderate Party and Juras Stankevic, Belarusian opposition politician, discussed the frequently reoccurring abuses and human rights violations committed by authoritarian regimes at the web. Juras bore witness of the situation in Belarus whereas Hanif discussed how Sweden could assist through technology in helping dissident bloggers in dictatorships to spread inconvenient truths. Magnus Nilsson, Moderate local politician, chaired the discussion. (more…)

 Trade can help both democracy and liberty along the way, said Ewa Björling, Minister for Trade. “We have been trading free since the Vikings’ time,” she said, explaining that CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), anti-corruption and safeguarding the environment are some of the areas that Sweden today, in various forms, are exporting. The seminar presented a report – Trading for democracy and freedom – written by Ewa Bjorling.
“I am convinced that trade can contribute to values ​​that go beyond the economic – to peace, human rights, freedom and openness,” Ewa Björling writes in her report. She is convinced that trading indirectly contributes to a greater respect for human rights and free trade “contributes to increased prosperity, which in turn strengthens the ability of people to actively work towards a larger freedom.” (more…)

 

Standing are Minister for Foreign Affairs Antonio Milošoski from Makedonien (to the left) and Genc Pollo, Minister for Innovation and ICT in Albanien.

May 7-8, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation arranged a round table conference on the EU integration of the Balkan countries. The participants were high level politicians from the Foundation’s sister parties in four Balkan states. The group consisted of some 20 politicians including two ministers – the Macedonian Minister for Foreign Affairs Antonio Milošoski and Genc Pollo, Albanian Minister for Innovation and ICT.

Among the issues discussed at the conference were membership and security in the Balkan region. Göran Lennmarker, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Foundation, reminded the participants that although the path to a membership may seem endless to the Balkan countries, the situation was once the same for the Baltic states. Today, those countries are all EU-members.

Numerous participants noted that Sweden is the most enlargement-friendly member of the Union. In addition, they emphasized that this, the third Balkan conference arranged by the Foundation, constituted an excellent opportunity to “openly discuss problems and exchange experiences among friends”.

The participants discussed obstacles on the path to  full EU membership – such as bilateral conflicts. Nevertheless, the participants agreed that there is indeed a development in the right direction.

– Since we met last time, we have achieved visa freedom for, for example, Serbians, said Nikola Lazic, Serbian parliamentarian and International Secretary for the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS).

The participating parties where Albanian Partia Demokratike e Shqipërisë, Bosnian Partija Demokratskog Progresa and Stranka Demokratske, VMRO-DPMNE  from Macedonia and Serbian Demokratska Stranka Srbije and G17Plus.

 

 

Paul Rusesabagina

“A discussion on the development in Rwanda” was the topic set for a seminar arranged by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation on April 28, 2010.  Paul Rusesabagina whose story inspired to the film Hotel Rwanda and Christian Holm, MP, who recently returned from a study trip to Rwanda both participated in the seminar. The seminar turned out to illustrate the difficulties of getting opponents to settle around a negotiation table. 

On one hand, it has been claimed that although Rwanda remains one of the world’s poor nations, the country has, in the last fourteen years, undergone a significant positive development in the economic sphere. The Rwandan government has focused on preventing new conflicts between ethnic groups.

On the other hand, it is claimed that despite international assistance and political reforms, Rwanda still has problems respecting human rights. As late as last week, two oppositional newspapers were closed down and government permission is needed in order to found oppositional parties. (more…)