How was Libereco founded?
In February 2009 in Bonn, we, former and partly still active members of Amnesty International founded Libereco. Since the beginning of the 2000s, personal contacts have been established with people who have been active in Belarus’ civil society in various forms. We have intensified these contacts together with new connections, and have expanded them through cooperation with local partner organisations.
What does “Libereco” mean?
The word “Libereco” has its origin in the international auxiliary language Esperanto, which Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof developed and then introduced in 1887 as an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.
Libereco means freedom. Libereco stands for what we believe in and campaign for.
Why is Libereco committed to human rights in Belarus and Ukraine?
In Belarus, human rights violations continue to be an instrument of the government. It is the only country in Europe that retains the death penalty, journalists are unable to report freely, and demonstrations are sometimes brutally suppressed. Moreover, people who criticise the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the country autocratically since 1994, not only risk their jobs or university places. They also face severe fines and long prison sentences.
It is true that the situation in neighbouring Ukraine is better in this respect. But since the outbreak of the war in Eastern Ukraine, human rights violations have also been increased there, especially in the conflict area. That is why Libereco has been active there since spring 2014. In the beginning we mainly collected donations for humanitarian projects, which resulted in strong partnerships in human rights work and education.
How does Libereco work?
Together with our partner organisations, we collect information about human rights violations and initiate projects, workshops and high-profile campaigns.
We make the public more aware of the problems in Belarus and Ukraine, train disseminators, and link organisations and individuals.
Together we protest against human rights violations and try to improve the human rights situation in the two countries in various ways. By doing so, we can help the victims of human rights violations and their relatives and show solidarity with them.
All our members work as volunteers. Exceptions to this are larger projects with international partner organisations, where we try to reward the enormous amount of time spent appropriately.
We currently do not have an office. Active members live in Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt/Main, Nuremberg, Leipzig, Zurich and The Netherlands. We communicate via Skype and e-mail and meet several times a year to plan our activities and projects.
What does “Partnership” mean in our name?
We have been working with human rights organisations in Belarus since our foundation and with Ukrainian NGOs since 2014. Partnership means that we work together at eye level. Together we develop projects and initiatives that are adapted to the current needs in both countries.
In addition, together with organisations and initiatives from all over the world, we develop and coordinate joint actions and appeals in order to mobilize as many people as possible to act against human rights violations.
In which networks and organisations is Libereco represented?
How can I support Libereco?
LLibereco is financed solely by membership fees and donations. Your donation enables us to document and publicise human rights violations in order to increase the political pressure on those responsible. In addition, we can use your donation to help people in need in Belarus and Ukraine.
Is Libereco bound to specific religious, political or ideological views?
Libereco is a non-religious and non-party organization. We are open to people of all religions and convictions. Libereco vehemently opposes any racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic expressions, and strongly dissociates itself from all organisations which give voice to any such opinions.
Who can become a member of Libereco?
Everyone who is at least 16 years old and agrees to the objectives of Libereco can become a member. If you are under 16 years old, membership is possible with your parents’ approval.
You can become a member of the German association of Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights e.V. or of the Swiss association Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights.
Members pay an annual membership fee and are able to participate actively in the publication of new objectives, actions and the further development of Libereco. Members have voting rights in the general meeting of members.
As a member you have the possibility of working actively in Libereco. But active participation is not a necessary requirement for membership.
From which organisations and donors has Libereco received money?
In addition to numerous private donors, we have received project-related funding from the following governmental and non-governmental organisations (see also Completed Projects):
- German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ÖPR Programme)
- German Federal Agency for Civic Education
- Human Rights Fund of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Poland
- International Visegrad Fund
- Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation
- Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”
- The German Marshall Fund of the United States