The EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva is co-sponsoring the following debate at this year's International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH):
Since 9 August and the proclamation of the results of the elections that allegedly gave Alexander Lukashenko 80% of the votes, Belarusians have been taking to the streets. But Alexander Lukashenko, Europe's last dictator, refuses to give in and is repressing protests. The country is at an impasse.
Demonstrations follow one another while the political situation remains unchanged. Hundreds of people have been arrested and the main opponents have fled the country, but the Government's fierce repression tactics have failed to weaken the determination of the people. They demand the departure of Alexander Lukashenko and the holding of free elections. Belarus has locked itself in a deadly stand-off, with no way out unless international pressure succeeds in unblocking the situation. But Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, refuses to let go of his ally. As for the European Union, it is divided between those nations that advocate new sanctions and those that fear a repeat of the Ukrainian scenario. Representative of the Belarusian opposition in exile, Olga Kovalkova, the human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, imprisoned for close to three years for his opposition to Alexander Lukashenko, and the writer Sasha Filipenko will discuss the role that the international community can play to help Belarus break the deadlock.
The debate will be held in Russian with simultaneous interpretation into French and English.
Co-presented with the Federal department of foreign affairs (DFAE), the World Organisation Against Torture, Amnesty International Switzerland, the Delegation of the European Union to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva and the Right Livelihood.
Ales Bialiatski, Belarusian writer and political activist
Gerald Staberock, Secretary General of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)
Tatyana Movshevich, Human rights defender, journalist and writer, expert on Belarus
Olga Kovalkova, Member of the Presidium of the Belarusian Coordination Council, co-chairwoman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party (EPP member)
Sasha Filipenko,Belarusian writer, presently artist in residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation