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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Releases > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Fact Sheets > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Fact Sheets (2005)
Fact Sheet
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Washington, DC
June 22, 2005

U.S. Assistance to Belarus -- Fiscal Year 2005

United States assistance programs in Belarus encourage civil society development and the emergence of democracy in a very difficult and challenging environment. FY 2005 U.S. programs will focus on the further development of Belarusian civil society, including media, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and political process in anticipation of presidential elections, slated for 2006. Because the Belarusian authorities have not embraced market reforms, the U.S. is able to program only modest activities in support of private entrepreneurship.

The estimated $11.8 million budgeted by all U.S. Government agencies for assistance programs in Belarus in Fiscal Year 2005 is allocated roughly as follows based on information available as of the date of this fact sheet (note: includes $5 million in supplemental funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress in May, 2005):

Sector

FY 2005

Democracy Programs

$9.80 million

Economic and Social Reform

$.50 million

Security and Law Enforcement

$.40 million

Humanitarian Assistance

$.40 million

Cross Sectoral Initiatives

$.70 million

Total

$11.80 million

Democracy programs in Belarus focus on civil society, political parties, independent media, and the rule of law. Grants and technical assistance build the capacity of local NGOs to increase citizen participation in solving community problems. Political party training for pro-democracy groups focuses on campaign planning and management, media relations, and coalition building skills.

Journalism training, legal defense, and information services strengthen independent print and broadcast media outlets while increasing their capacity to provide objective, fact-based information. Legal training for local lawyers, activists, NGOs, and citizens is also provided, in addition to support for Legal Advice Centers. The Eurasia Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy, and U.S. Embassy administer small grants for indigenous NGOs to foster civil society, human rights, independent media, and other initiatives to promote democracy in Belarus.

Training and exchange programs reach out to future Belarusian leaders to provide first-hand experience with the day-to-day functioning of a market-based democracy. Since 1993, over 2,800 Belarusians have come to the United States on academic and professional exchange programs in fields such as management, social service provision, and NGO development. The Community Connections program will enhance Belarusians’ leadership skills by bringing approximately 40 entrepreneurs, NGOs, and community leaders to the United States on training programs tailored to their professional and business interests.

Security and law enforcement assistance in Belarus has faced many obstacles over the years. Belarus has not received the Defense Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction assistance since 1997, when it was decertified due to its poor human rights record. Belarus participates in some North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace programs, and a small number of military officers and civilians attend Marshall Center programs, which promote military reform and civilian control of the military.

The humanitarian program in Belarus consists of the transportation, distribution, and monitoring of donated medicines, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, emergency shelter items, food, and clothing, which are the main commodities shipped and distributed to the most needy individuals, families, and institutions through the State Department Humanitarian Transport Program. The total value of U.S. humanitarian commodities provided in Fiscal Year 2005 is estimated to be in excess of $10 million.


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