This event, initiated by the Lithuanian Embassy in London is organised against the background of the current situation in Belarus of an unprecedented scale of repression by the Lukashenka regime against its own people. Following a series of anti-government protests, the largest in the history of the country, the state has forcibly displaced the core of civil society beyond its borders, and those who remained are being subdued, abused and tortured on a daily basis even today. This process has been further exacerbated by the regime’s involvement in Russia’s war against Ukraine, bringing fear and deepening trauma in an already scarred nation. Yet, Belarusians continue to resist, both inside and outside the country, fighting for their freedom - just like in a real war, only this time clandestinely and underground inside the country; and with the support and advocacy of the Belarusian diaspora beyond the “barbed-wire walls” of the Belarusian state.
Lithuania, as a neighbouring country, has always been a vocal and staunch supporter of a democratic Belarus. In times of the utmost need, it offered support and shelter to the hundreds of thousands fleeing Belarusians, with the latter now forming a physical hub for rehabilitation and fight beyond the Belarusian borders.
The first public screening of the documentary ‘Civil Resistance: Belarus 2020+’, produced by Jon Parker, will be followed a panel discussion and Q&A.
The event is held on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, and following the award of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Belarusian opposition in 2020.
Awarded for the first time in 1988 to Nelson Mandela and Anatoli Marchenko, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is the highest tribute paid by the European Union to human rights work. It gives recognition to individuals, groups and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to protecting freedom of thought. The EU assists laureates through the prize and its associated network, supporting and empowering them in their efforts to defend their causes.
17.00-18.00 Welcome words and film Screening: Civil Resistance: Belarus 2020+ | 52m | Documentary
In 2020, as President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka retained power for a sixth consecutive term following a fraudulent presidential election, a series of peaceful mass political demonstrations and protests were held all across the country. The protests led by the opposition were violently repressed by the security forces leading to arrests, torture and incarceration of thousands. Despite the repression and violence the people's spirit and yearning for democracy could not be crushed.
The documentary explores how Lukashenka rose to power after the demise of the Soviet Union, how he turned Belarus into a Russian satellite state and how the Belarusian people courageously found a way to stand up to his ruthless authoritarian regime.
18.00-18.10 Break (on the screen – reference to the bonus feature Civil Resistance: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya | 28m | Interview
18.10-19.00 Panel discussion with Q&A from the audience
● Prof Elena Korosteleva (Chair), Director of the Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD), University of Warwick, and editor of the book ‘Belarus in the XXI Century’ (Routledge)
● Parisa Savoji, Manoto TV presenter
● Jon Parker, Documentary producer/director
● Sir Tony Lloyd, APPG Belarus Chair, and Member of the UK Parliament (TBC)
● Dr Tatsiana Chulitskaya, Research Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University
● Dr Paul Hansbury, author of the book ‘Belarus in Crisis’ (Hurst)
Co-organised by the European Parliament Liaison Office in the UK, the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to the UK and the Institute of Global Sustainable Development (IGSD), Warwick University.