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Watch again: Conference on Belarusian civil society, supporting exiled opposition

An audience member taking a photograph of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya at the Conference on Belarus on November 10, 2023.
An audience member taking a photograph of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya at the Conference on Belarus on November 10, 2023. Source: Egert Kamenik

What is the vision for a future democratic Belarus, what role does civil society play in the diaspora, and how can Alexander Lukashnko's regime face punishment for its crimes? These issues were all discussed at a recent conference in Tallinn, which can now be watched online.

The Conference on Belarus took place on November 11 and was organized by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Estonian Institute of Human Rights, the European Endowment for Democracy, and the Democratic Forces of Belarus.

One of Estonia's key goals is to support the Belarusian opposition in exile and the event created a space to network, exchange views, and coordinate.

Attendees included pro-democracy activists, politicians, experts, journalists, and civil society leaders from across the region.

The following panel discussions are in English or Estonian and Belarusian with English translation.

Conference opening. Keynote speeches, discussion

Speakers

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of Belarusian democratic forces/ leader of The United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus

Margus Tsahkna, minister of foreign affairs of Estonia
Jerzy Pomianowski, executive director, European Endowment for Democracy

Media Freedom and the Role of the Civil Society

This panel explores the role of independent media and civil society in Belarus and their potential to shape the country's future. It examines the challenges faced by media outlets and civil society organizations in Belarus and abroad, their impact on public discourse, and strategies to strengthen their influence.

Speakers

Natalia Belikova, board member at Press Club Belarus and Head of International Cooperation
Hanna Liubakova, freelance journalist
Aleksandra Pushkina, media manager, communication specialist, Zerkalo.io
Anton Penkovski, TBD media manager
Olena Malynovska, senior key expert at the EU Regional Communication Programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood,
Holger Roonemaa, head of the Investigative and Fact-Checking Desk, Delfi

Human Rights Abuses and Achieving Accountability for the Regime in Belarus

This panel addresses the issue of political prisoners in Belarus and explores effective strategies to secure their release. The panel tackles questions such as the state of human rights in Belarus, how the democratic world can support political prisoners, and what the international community can do to enforce accountability on the regime.

Speakers

Pavel Latushka, deputy head of The United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, Head of The National Anti-Crisis Management
Andrei Sharendo, activist of the European Belarus Civil Campaign
Natacha Bracq, legal advisor with DIGNITY - Danish Institute against Torture
Natallia Satsunkevich, member of the Interim Board of the Viasna Human Rights Center
Volha Zazuilnskaya, head of the charity foundation "Strana dlya zhizni", coordinator of the project of assistance to political prisoners and their families
George P. Kent, U.S. Ambassador to Estonia

Vision of Future Belarus

This panel discusses the future of Belarus, focusing on aspects such as democracy, culture, human rights, and socio-economic development. The panelists how to move towards a free and democratic Belarus, how the people of Belarus see their future, and what is the role of the Democratic Forces in developing this vision.

Speakers

Lena Zhivoglod, vice speaker of the Coordination Council of Belarus and Head of the NGO Honest People
Alina Koushyik, United Transitional Cabinet, representative for National Revival
Anton Radniankou, head of communications for the Coordination Council of Belarus, Center for New Ideas
Valeri Kavaleuski, United Transitional Cabinet, representative for Foreign Affairs
Vlad Kobets, Belarusian social activist and policy expert
Katia Glod, Russia-West policy fellow at the European Leadership Network (London)

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Editor: Helen Wright

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