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Developing the Civil Society and Ensuring the Rights of Ethnic and Religious Cultures in the Republic of Belarus

May 2011  |  Belarus

May 19-20, 2011 - International Workshop on Developing the Civil Society and Ensuring the Rights of Ethnic and Religious Cultures in the Republic of Belarus in the framework of BRIDGE Project "Fostering mutual understanding and cooperation of EU with Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine". The workshop was attended by the coordinator of the Project BRIDGE Prof. Silvo Devetak from Slovenia, Rector of BTEU, Member of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Prof. Ala Navumchyk, Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in the Republic of Belarus Ms Sholeh Safavi, foreign experts, staff of the local authorities, leaders of national diasporas (Jewish, Polish), representatives of religious confessions (Muslim, Baptist, Judaic), and leading experts from the HEI’s of Gomel.

A wide range of issues were considered during the Workshop, among which: the EU’s and Belarus’ policy in the sphere of ethnic and religious relations, ensuring employment and social protection of forced migrants and their social protection, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ activity aimed at protection of ethnic minorities’ rights, constitutional, legal and political aspects of minorities’ protection in the EU, ethnic structure of the population of the Republic of Belarus and its dynamics in the light of international relations, the legal status of ethnic and religious minorities in the Republic of Belarus, mental grounds of the East Slavic peoples’ unity as a factor of integration processes, public policy towards religious organizations in the Republic of Belarus.

The workshop gave a basis for the exchange of opinions on the WS topics during the round table.
Programme of the seminar:  English, Russian.

The Workshop resulted in participants’ recommendations (English, Russian, Belarusian) which stressed the need: to improve the legal procedures for the implementation of the legally fixed rights and freedoms of ethnic communities to use their native language in cooperation with public agencies, to settle the situation with the Public Association of Polish minority in Belarus, to improve the system of religious, spiritual and moral education in Belarus through the package of activities, to make additional efforts to promote a constructive dialogue aimed at the development of civil society in Belarus, to enlarge cooperation in social, educational and scientific fields in the projects and programs financed by the EU, to improve the forms of cooperation between the EU and Belarus supporting topical and constructive initiatives.

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