RADA is deeply concerned about the received credible information and its own negative experience of cooperation with the international institutions in charge of youth policy development and work in the European region.
RADA has to make a negative assessment of the project “the Eastern Partnership Youth Regional Unit (EPYRU)”, financed by the European Union from 2013 aimed at creating a platform for cooperation between state institutions and civil society organizations on reforming youth policy in the region. Numerous attempts of the Secretariat of RADA to establish communication or participate in the activities of the program ended in disregard of RADA’s initiatives by the head office of the project in Kiev. Based on the observation results of the project implementation for almost three years, the Governing Body of RADA has to admit the lack of will expressed by the executive body of the EPYRU to increase the level of participation of independent democratic youth organizations of Belarus in the activities of the Program.
RADA has repeatedly stressed a promising role of the Council of Europe in the sphere of youth policy development in Belarus; however, it is concerned about the excluding practice applied by the CoE in their activities on the related topic towards the representatives of the democratic youth organization of the state. Thus 10 December 2014 neither the representatives of the Governing Body, nor the representatives of the member organizations of RADA could not participate in the event “Youth Policy of the Council of Europe, the importance for the youth of Belarus”, which was organized jointly by the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus. Most of the participants of the event were the representatives of the pro-governmental Belarusian Republican Youth Union.
RADA wants to remind the European institutions and organizations that one of the main reasons of the repressive practice of the state towards the youth civil society in Belarus for the past 10 years was the aspiration of these organizations to the Europeanization of the country, promotion of democratic values and human rights. A significant part of the organizations liquidated by the state authorities years ago, have not lost faith in these values at the present time, and despite the tough conditions for work, continue to operate in the country as non-registered initiatives. Meanwhile, RADA perceives with anxiety the accreditation of the pro-governmental Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRYU) in the European Voluntary Service (EVS), a fact that demonstrates the superiority of the formalized approach of the European institutions in the establishment of cooperation with Belarusian organizations, namely only with NGOs registered by the state authorities.
The Governing Body of RADA encourages the representatives of the organizations and institutions of the European Union and the Council of Europe:
Reconsider the approaches in relation to policies and practice of inclusion of Belarusian youth NGOs in programs, including Erasmus Plus, paying particular attention to importance of recognizing human rights and democracy as the core values and criteria for interaction;
Eliminate a very formalized approach in choosing parties for cooperation;
Take into account an actual situation in the sphere of freedom of association and, all in all, guarantee and realization of human rights in the country in the process of decision-making, development of programs and projects related to youth and youth policy in Belarus.
Find the document here: RADA STATEMENT 06072015