A group of former Czech dissidents led by ex-president Vaclav Havel has established the International Association of Belarussian Citizens to support democratic initiatives in Belarus, including the NGOs banned by the regime of Belorussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The new association will present its plans, along with the Belarussian NGO Vyasna's report on the violation of human rights in Belarus, in the Senate next Monday.
A number of Czech politicians rank among the sharpest critics of the Belarussian regime and representatives of the Belarussian opposition can regularly find support in the Czech Senate.
Apart from Havel, the founding members of the new association in support of Belarussian NGOs include former Senate deputy chairman Jan Ruml, deputy ombudsman Anna Sabatova, head of the People in Need foundation Tomas Pojar and senator Karel Schwarzenberg.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.