In the framework of “Public Dialog” project a series of expert round tables on human rights has been initiated by the The Centre for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies in partnership with the Foreign Policy and Security Research Centre. The project's goal is to gather state institutions, human rights defenders, academia, international organizations and individual experts at one table to discuss the current situation with human rights in the Republic of Belarus, to form trust and understanding of each other’s actions, and exchange views of different stakeholders. The purpose therefore is to create the atmosphere based on trust and non-political dialogue to present an opportunity for the stakeholders to hear one another and discuss the existing issues and controversies.
The official opening ceremony of the project was held at the first expert round table “Concept of Human Rights in the Modern World” that took place in Minsk just yesterday, February 18, 2015 at the Faculty of International Relations of the Belarusian State University. UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, Sanaka Samarasinha, participated and held a welcoming speech before the round table discussions.
Belarus’ civil society and government can find common ground on human rights issues, Sanaka Samarasinha, the UN Development Program (UNDP)`s resident representative in Belarus, said during a round-table conference in Minsk on Wednesday.
According to Mr. Samarasinha, they can reach consensus when they acknowledge that the other side may also be right.
Mr. Samarasinha dismissed allegations that Belarus’ authorities and civil society were not discussing the human rights situation. He noted that the concept of human rights was much broader than the notion of civil ahuman rights dialogue has been going on for as long as he had served with the UN Office in Minsk. He said that some of the issues under discussion were controversial, including the application of the death penalty in Belarus.
Mr. Samarasinha acknowledged that it was necessary to discuss problem issues more actively.