Estonia will allocate €70,000 for Belarusian student scholarships and to support the Lifeline Fund to help protect Belarusian non-governmental organisations from persecution.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is allocating €50,000 for Estonian government scholarships for Belarusian students at the European Humanities University in Vilnius. It will also support the activities of the Lifeline Fund in Belarus with €20,000.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said the situation in Belarus has not been resolved and continued support is crucial.
"Education is an area that has been important in Estonia's development cooperation with Belarus. It is extremely regrettable that access to education has been restricted due to political views. The European Humanities University is welcoming those Belarusian students who cannot study in Belarus due to their political views. It is also extremely important to ensure that people active in NGOs have access to legal protection, medical assistance, information and communications," Reinsalu said.
The European Humanities University has been operating in Vilnius as an accredited educational institution since it was closed by Belarusian authorities in Minsk in 2004. It offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies.
Estonia most recently supported the activities of the European Humanities University in 2015. The main supporters of the university are the European Commission, Sweden and Lithuania.
Lifeline is a global fund that is also used to implement Estonia's development cooperation in Eastern Partnership countries. Since 2011, the fund has supported more than 1,500 NGOs in more than 100 countries.
In October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened a limited call for proposals for funding development cooperation projects in Belarus, specific projects will be selected after December 1. The volume of the call for proposals was €500,000.
Editor: Helen Wright