Belarus Connection is a networking event, organized in Amsterdam to discuss the issues related to Dutch foreign policy, development cooperation, human rights and democracy in Belarus
On the International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2010 from 18.30 to 22.30
Come and join us at Bitterzoet in Amsterdam. See the map.
Internationally, the Netherlands has a strong reputation for its active role in development cooperation. The concept of global citizenship has been widely realized through permanent and active involvement of Dutch state and civil organizations into various international initiatives for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger. Even though Belarus has always been stated in the OECD DAC list as a developing country, it is not often perceived as one. Consequently, it is only occasionally targeted for development assistance.
Since the collapse of the USSR, Belarus has been trying to find its own way to develop internally stable economic and political foundations. In the rest of Europe, however, Belarus is perceived more as an authoritarian state with permanent human rights violations, unsolved cases of the missing political leaders and activists and full state control over mass media and civil society. For the past 16 years, Belarus has been ruled by Alexander Lukashenka, who was described by Condoleezza Rice as the last dictator of Europe.
In the world atlas, only two countries separate Belarus from the Netherlands. Moreover, after Russia, the Netherlands is Belarus second biggest trade partner. Nevertheless, the Dutch public receive very limited information about this country. As a close economic ally of Belarus, the Netherlands could potentially influence the way Belarus conducts its internal reforms.
On December 19, 2010 the next Presidential elections are scheduled in Belarus. However, will the upcoming elections bring change? And can the Netherlands, as one of the most important exporters to Belarus, contribute to this change?
We would like to address these and other questions on December 10th within the following discussions:
— Dutch Foreign Policy and Development Cooperation
— Belarus Elections: What is the Next Step in Belarus-Netherlands Relations?