Every year the European Parliament announces the winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to individuals and organizations fighting for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In 2020, the prize was awarded to the democratic opposition in Belarus, a country that has been in political crisis since the contested results of last summer’s presidential elections. Large-scale protests followed which were met with brute force by the authorities. The democratic opposition is represented by the Coordination Council, an initiative of political activists and members of civil society, among others, in which women play a striking role.
In cooperation with the European Union, we will screen the documentary Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus. In a subsequent panel discussion, journalist Franka Hummels will speak to various guests including Sakharov Prize laureate Veronica Tsepkalo, politician and journalist Franak Viačorka and visual artist and activist Tasha Arlova. This conversation will shine a light on the winners of the 2020 Sakharov Prize and will further elaborate on the context.
This screening is free of charge and is funded with the help of the European Union. Movies that Matter is entirely responsible for the content of this programme.
Veronika Tsepkalo is one of the winners of the 2020 Sakharov Prize. Veronika is a political activist and one of the main representatives of the democratic opposition in Belarus. Veronika’s husband, Valery Tsepkalo, announced his presidential candidacy in the 2020 elections. However, his candidacy was refused. Due to her political activities and those of her husband, Veronika was forced to flee Belarus.
Franak Viačorka works a journalist and politician and advocates for democracy and personal freedom in Belarus. Franak is Senior Advisor to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, one of the 2020 Sakharov laureates. Tsikhanouskaya is a human rights activist and was the main opposition candidate in the 2020 presidential elections in Belarus. Due to his work as an activist and journalist in Belarus, Franak was arrested multiple times by the authorities and was eventually forced to leave the country.
Tasha Arlova is a Belarusian visual artist based in Amsterdam. Tasha’s current practice includes video performance, films and activist work. She recently co-curated several exhibitions dedicated to protest art, including ‘Belarus // Art of Resistance’ in Arti et Amicitae. In 2020, Tasha presented The Freedom Lecture in De Balie, Amsterdam.
Franka Hummels is a historian and freelance journalist for radio and print. In 2011 she published ‘De Generatorgeneratie, leven na Tsjernobyl’, about the generation growing up in Belarus in the aftermath of the 1986 nuclear disaster. In her student years, Franka was part of the team that made the documentary ‘Ne Tarmazi’ (2003) about youth organisations in Belarus. Franka has a strong focus on Belarus and often appears in media as an expert on the region.