Dec 13, 2011

facts of life: about Belarus...

We're currently being hosted at the Belarusian Human Rights House in Vilnius. For those of you who suck at Geography, Vilnius is not in Belarus.

We have, in the Campus Europae network, a Belarusian Higher Education Institution called European Humanities University (EHU), based in Vilnius. Again, not in Belarus.

EHU was founded in Minsk back in 1992, then shut down by the government in 2004. They dared oppose the government. EHU was re-established in Vilnius in 2005 and survives thanks to the support of a wide range of international institutions. Several students and professors at EHU took part in the protests against the rigged presidencial election in 2010. Some of them are imprisoned in Belarus.

Political repression is extremely violent in Belarus. Human Rights violations are all too common. Needless to say, organizations like the Human Rights House Network are not welcome there as long as Lukashenko is in charge.

Although this topic seems to go unnoticed in most of Western Europe (the mass media nearly ignored the Minsk Metro bombing in April - that alone would deserve a longer essay), the fact remains: our colleagues, our neighbours, our friends are forced to live under an oppressive regime that has no place in Europe or anywhere else in the world.

For how long will the rest of Europe pretend to ignore this?

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