Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the Northeast, Ukraine to the South, Poland to the West, and Lithuania and Latvia to the Northwest. Its capital is Minsk.
Belarus is a unitary republic, with a constitution that in theory guarantees a broad range of rights and freedoms. In reality, the country did not experience a change in political leadership since 1994 when Aleksandr Lukashenko was elected as president. Moreover, in 1996 the constitutions was amended to expand the power of the president, allowing him to rule by decree.
Despite its proximity to the rest of Europe and the West, Belarus’ Democracy Index rating continuously ranks the lowest in Europe, the country is labelled as “Not Free” by Freedom House – 2016 Freedom in the World Index, with special focus on the lack of freedom of speech and assembly. Yet, as reported by the 2015 USAID CSOs Sustainability Index, Belarussian CSO is mostly vocal in its advocacy initiatives and in providing and monitoring social and educational services.
The following CSOs from Belarus participated at the Black Sea NGO Forum: