image2 20.06.2018

ODIHR launches two-year EU-funded project on promoting democratization and human rights in Belarus

Yesterday, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) launched the two-year, EU-funded project “Promoting Democratization and Human Rights in Belarus”, with two days of seminars in Minsk focusing on fair-trial rights.

The project will assist Belarus in meeting its OSCE commitments in the areas of the rule of law, human rights and the equal participation of women in democratic processes. The , yesterday's and today's seminars were co-organized by ODIHR with the Institute for Re-training and Continuing Education of Judges and Personnel of Prosecutor’s Offices, Courts and Justice Institutions (IRCE) at Belarus State University, as the first element of the rule of law component of the project.

“The training and assistance this project will provide to judges, prosecutors and lawyers; to educational officials; and to women parliamentarians, young women and gender equality advocates, is aimed at making a real difference,” said Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, ODIHR Director.

Mr Jim Couzens, Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, said: "These seminars for judges about the right to a fair trial are an important part of the EU's co-operation with Belarus."

The project’s rule of law activities will include the training of some 200 legal professionals, as well as thematic seminars and exchange visits on rule of law and other justice issues.

“Educational seminars help participants gain a greater legal awareness in line with universally recognized international standards, which contributes to the strengthening of the rule of law and justice in the country,” said Ludmila Zaitseva, Head of the Prosecution Activity Department at IRCE.

Activities related to the other components of the project will include the provision of expert assistance in setting priorities for human rights education, a training-of-trainers session to give the Ministry of Education a pool of trainers on human rights education, and a workshop to build the capacity of local education policy specialists.

The project will also organize training workshops to strengthen the leadership abilities of young women and gender equality advocates, support the establishment of a network of women parliamentarians in Belarus, and help organize international forums for women leaders in the Commonwealth of Independent States.