Turning point for rapprochement process

Minsk’s Council of Europe Information Point, operational for over a year, is unprecedented

By Tatiana Vlasova

 

No other non-member of the Council of Europe is honoured with a similar representation office. Andrea Rigoni, PACE Rapporteur for Belarus, has called it a ‘turning point’ in the process of rapprochement between the EU and Minsk. Igor Gorsky, the Director of the Council of Europe Information Point in Belarus, notes that the centre has already achieved much, with further plans afoot.

All projects are agreed with the Council of Europe, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry and the Belarusian State University, since the Information Point operates as part of an international technical assistance project, implemented jointly with the BSU.

During recent months, four information campaigns have been organised in Belarus, tackling topical issues: domestic violence towards women; the protection of child rights; race discrimination; and the moratorium on the death penalty (with possible complete abolition).

Contemporary TV clips to advertise the issues have been broadcast across Council of Europe countries, with most also seen by TV viewers in Belarus, being shown on many Belarusian channels. Additionally, campaigns are running via the press and Internet.

The Council of Europe Information Point targets various audiences, with special attention given to young people, students and the upcoming generation. The Information Point is working jointly with Belarusian ministries to organise diverse events and visits by Council of Europe representatives.

Various events are scheduled for the near future, including an exhibition dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty. Council of Europe countries have taken part in a poster contest, entitled Poster4 Tomorrow, with over 2,000 entries; the most interesting have been sent to Minsk for display. Two more information campaigns are planned: one concerning child rights and safety on the Internet and the other dedicated to human trafficking. Belarus is known to be doing much to eradicate this evil and, undoubtedly, Minsk and the Council of Europe could achieve a great deal by their joint efforts.

 

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