Assembly of Belarusian Pro-Democratic NGOs marks 15 years of activity
On 22 February, the Assembly of Belarusian Pro-Democratic NGOs marks its 15th anniversary, being the largest association of Belarus’ non-governmental organizations, with over 300 member-organizations across the country.
The founding congress held in 1997 was joined by a number of key Belarusian NGOs, Belarusian Association of Journalists, Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Leu Sapeha Foundation and the Human Rights Center “Viasna”.
Over the years, the Assembly has been involved in several major civil campaigns, including “Stop 193.1!”, “SOS! Third Sector” and others.
“The Assembly emerged when it was most needed. It was founded as an association of civic groups who cared about freedom and democracy, independence and the Belarusian language. It was an association of the groups who protected these values many years before independent public associations were named “the third sector”, before “public business’ appeared”, says Vintsuk Viachorka, chair of the Assembly’s working group in 1999-2000.
According to one of the Assembly’s key figures Vital Vasilkou, the Assembly has always implemented its honoured mission – protecting various initiatives and non-profit organizations.
“All that has been accumulated and developed by the Assembly’s members over the years – guidelines, seminars, manuals – will surely be needed in future”, says Mr. Vasilkou.