The meeting, together with partners from Lithuanian Center for Human Rights and National LGBT rights organization LGL, was dedicated to strengthen networking and cooperation among civil society representatives from Belarus, Norway and Lithuanian in the framework of the project „Sharing Expertise and Fostering LGBT Human Rights in Belarus“.
Representatives of civil society from Belarus had an opportunity to learn more about the LGBT rights and protection in neighboring Lithuania. During the meeting at the Equal Opportunities Ombudspersons Office (Belarus remains one of the few countries in Europe without the institution dedicated to the anti-discrimination and equality) the group were introduced to the ant-discrimination standards, procedures for investigation of complaints as well as awareness raising activities and collaboration with civil society experience. The meeting with Ministry of Foreign Affairs Human Rights Division presented an opportunity to share most pressing challenges to LGBT human rights in Belarus – the lack of ant-discrimination and hate crime legislation, experience of intimidation and violence at the hands of law enforcement directed against the LGBT community.
The widespread hate speech and limited positive representation of LGBT people in the social and traditional media was the topic discussed at the meeting with Inspector for Journalist Ethics.
This meeting was one of the activities within the larger pilot-project which aims to:
- Promote progress towards democracy and support civic society’s development. Particularly emphasizing capacity building in the area of communication, advocacy, engaging young people;
- Mobilize community members and volunteers of LGBT organizations in Belarus;
- Strengthen their advocacy work and visibility of the human rights context in Belarus in general and LGBT rights in particular;
- Mainstream LGBT rights issues, engage in networking activities with other relevant stakeholders in Belarus and abroad;
- Foster openness and understanding between society members.
„Sharing Expertise and Fostering LGBT Human Rights in Belarus“ is coordinated by association LGL in collaboration with DOTYK, Journalists for Tolerance, Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Lithuanian Center for Human Rights. The project is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers.