Young civil society under threat – European Youth Parliament in Belarus being liquidated.
Berlin, 27.07.2021 – The National Committee representing the European Youth Parliament (EYP) in Belarus has been put under liquidation by the Belarusian government. Following the developments of August 2020, civil society, including members of EYP are heavily under threat. The EYP network as one of the biggest youth-led organisations in Europe stands in full solidarity with its member organisation in Belarus.
The European Youth Parliament (EYP), working under the umbrella of the Schwarzkopf Foundation (Schwarzkopf-Stiftung Junges Europa), is an organisation based on values such as democracy and pluralism and strives to empower young people across the whole continent in more than 40 countries to become active citizens and to execute their civil rights. On Friday, 23rd of July 2021, EYP was informed that the National Committee representing it in Belarus has been put under liquidation by the Belarusian government. Neither were they informed nor was their case heard before this decision was made.
Darya Skorokhod, the President of EYP Belarus explains: “The morning I got a message that EYP Belarus alongside with other Belarusian NGOs is being liquidated, was not a complete surprise for us. This could not come as a surprise for anyone who lives in Belarus and has been recently involved in any non-governmental activities. We do not know what to expect from the near future and how the situation develops, but we want to highlight the fact that the liquidation does not mean we will stop our activities but rather move them to the neighbouring countries. They can liquidate the NGO but not the people behind it.”
The Governing Body of the EYP Network as its international board states the following: “While our volunteers and the members of the Board of our National Committee in Belarus will continue their work to the best of their abilities, we as a network are shocked by how their efforts and the efforts of EYP as a whole are blatantly undermined and put under scrutiny. We demand an end to these actions and the threats made to young Europeans who want to play an active role in the shaping of their own lives and society at large.”
The Schwarzkopf Foundation stands with EYP Belarus and supports the statement of the Governing Body of EYP:
“As a foundation, we see it as our task to promote democracy and youth participation for all young people in Europe. We observe the restriction of democratic participation for civil society organisations, especially for young people in Belarus with great concern. We stand in full solidarity with EYP Belarus.”, says Luisa Seiler, Executive Director of the Schwarzkopf Foundation.
The European Youth Parliament is one of the largest youth organisations in Europe, by young people for young people. The network connects youth across borders and offers spaces for political debates, personal development, and the exchange of ideas.
The Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe works for a Europe of openness, solidarity and democracy shaped by young people. In events, educational programmes and youth-led networks, the Foundation offers young Europeans opportunities for encounter and exchange, personal development and active democratic participation. The Schwarzkopf Foundation is the international umbrella organisation of the European Youth Parliament (EYP).