Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya held a visit to Czechia following media reports of the expected “anti-Belarusian bill” adoption. She held urgent negotiations with President Miloš Zeman, Prime Minister Peter Fial, parliamentary leaders Marketa Pekareva and Miloš Vystrčil, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Gržib, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, Interior Minister Vit RakušanMinisters of CultureEducation, Digitalization, as well as met with local Belarusians and students.

In the result of the visit:

  • The Czech Republic reversed its decision concerning Belarusians. At the meeting with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Czech President pledged that Czechia will not discriminate against the Belarusians and expressed the hope that the bill will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Humanitarian visas and visas for family reunification will remain available for Belarusians. Issuance of all types of visas is not possible to date, but migration rules should be simplified. Belarusians who are already in Czechia can stay in the country.
  • The Ministry of the Interior is considering a working group with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the issues faced by Belarusians in Czechia, including on an individual basis.
  • Ms. Tsikhanouskaya and Czech Education Minister Petr Gazdik issued a joint statement, saying the Czech Republic will continue providing scholarships, supporting students from Belarus, and will prevent discrimination based on national origin. In the near future, the Minister will hold a meeting with Belarusian students.
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs gave the green light to opening a Belarusian democratic representative office in Prague for the local Belarusian diaspora. President Zeman proposed to finalize the work as early as in September.
  • A Friends of Free Belarus parliamentary group was created in the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament. The group includes deputies from all major political groups and factions and is chaired by Marek Ženíšek. The group will keep Belarus on the agenda, support the Belarusian diaspora, and implement projects in partnership with Belarusian civil society.
  • During its presidency in the European Union from July to December 2022, the Czech Republic will hold a series of events and meetings involving representatives of democratic Belarus. The meetings will take place at the level of the government, parliament and civil society. The Belarusian issue will be on the agenda of the European Council and during the Eastern Partnership summit.
  • Ms. Tsikhanouskaya spoke with the Czech leadership about holding the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus on May 29, establishing Belarusian research programs and a Belarusian institute within a Czech university. She also urged the country’s leadership to translate local tourist guides into Belarusian, mark Belarusian memorable places in Prague, and support independent media.
  • At the meetings, the national leader of Belarus spoke about Belarusians of Prague, who collect humanitarian aid and make body armor for Belarusian volunteers fighting in Ukraine.

Ms. Tsikhanouskaya handed over files and requests prepared by the Belarusian diaspora in Praguethe Medical Solidarity Foundationthe National Anti-Crisis Managementthe Belarusian Council for Culture, as well as a letter from Hrodna school children studying the Czech language.

Photo: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Czech President Miloš Zeman

Photo: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Education Minister Petr Gazdik 

Photo: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya at the meeting with Belarusians in Prague 

Source: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya