Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

NGO Assembly Calls upon Democratic Leaders to Unite

The Assembly of Democratic NGOs of Belarus made a statement on the situation in democratic political circles of the country.

Representatives of the Assembly expressed deep concern about the situation on the eve of the presidential election campaign. The disunity of the democratic contenders for the post of the president of the country, the inability to choose a single candidate, the lack of common strategic objectives and of an action plan cast doubt on the seriousness of their intentions, say the authors of the statement. They also point out that there is enticement of activists from the camp of one candidate to another.

In addition, the statement says, democratic political actors have no concerted attitude to the authoritarian regime and the future of Belarus. Voters have to choose between "the proposals to change the leadership of the country according to Russian strategies, on the one hand, and the protection of the regime as a ‘guarantor of independence’, on the other hand".

Representatives of the Assembly call on political leaders for the strategic and practical consolidation. They stress that, in their turn, democratic civil society will take an active part in informing, mobilising, and organising the Belarusian society.

The document was approved by the members of the Working Group of the NGO Assembly composed of representatives of the most influential public associations of Belarus.

"This statement is the position of a certain part of the public sector of Belarus, which interests are represented by the NGO Assembly. Hopefully, political leaders from among the potential candidates will take into account the opinion of Belarusians involved in the work of associations of the third sector. Civil society in Belarus cannot remain aloof from key political events, because we have decided to express our view on the current election situation", said the chairman of the Working Group of the NGO Assembly and the Speaker of the Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership Syargei Matskevich.

Reference. The Assembly of Democratic NGOs of Belarus is an association of 278 public organisations and initiatives in Belarus. Founded in 1997. Main goals: promotion and defence of the interests of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Belarus; facilitation of communication between public organisations; support of NGOs; monitoring, analysis and assessment of the public sector and legal status. Since the announcement by the European Parliament of the test period for the Belarusian authorities the Assembly has been conducting intensive monitoring of the situation with the right to freedom of association in Belarus.