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Against repression and violence: An action plan for civil society in Belarus

Protests in Minsk following the presidential elections, 23 August 2020 

Protests in Minsk following the presidential elections, 23 August 2020 , © ©dpa

10.06.2021 - Article

Since August 2020, people in Belarus have been demonstrating peacefully against electoral fraud and state violence and calling for freedom of opinion and the release of political prisoners. The political leadership in Minsk is responding with repression and unconcealed violence.

The political crisis in Belarus has increasingly worsened since August last year. The regime under strongman Lukashenko is persecuting members of the political opposition, and also civil‑society actors, with massive repression, violence and intimidation. More than 35,000 citizens have been arrested to date and the number of political prisoners is rising steadily. However, the leadership in Minsk continues to reject any form of the urgently needed dialogue with a wide cross‑section of civil society.

Given this situation, the Federal Foreign Office has, since March 2021, substantially expanded its support for civil society, which has been a central pillar of Germany’s foreign policy in Belarus for years. In so doing, we want to make a contribution towards responding to the political crisis and the violence in Belarus.

  • support for students, doctoral students and researchers through
  • promotion of independent media and civil-society project work, for example within the scope of the programme Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia;
  • treating traumatised victims of torture;
  • easier entry for victims of political persecution, e.g. by issuing visas and allowing them into Germany.
  • documentation of severe human rights crimes via an International Accountability Platform.

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