ARTICLE 19 in discussion with Andrei Sannikov

At 18:30 GMT on Tuesday the 5th April 2016, ARTICLE 19 hosted the former presidential candidate & political prisoner Andrei Sannikov in a discussion of the situation in Belarus on the occasion of the release of his memoirs.

This discussion took place in English at 60 Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, London (Free Word Lecture Theatre).

Theme & Speaker / Location / ARTICLE 19 / Related articles

Sannikov webpage

About the debate:

In 2010, Andrei Sannikov, an opposition activist in exile and Belarus’ former deputy minister of foreign affairs (1995-1996), ran a prominent campaign against the incumbent Aleksander Lukashenko in the Belarusian presidential election. Lukashenko, in power since 1994, went on to claim victory, while Sannikov, who garnered the second highest percentage of votes, was promptly arrested post-election for participating in a peaceful protest against perceived electoral fraud.

Sannikov would remain behind bars for the next 16 months, gaining international recognition as a political prisoner and suffering a harrowing ordeal at the hands of Belarus’s criminal justice system. After his release in 2012, he was forced to flee the country, receiving political asylum in the UK, where he continues his work for a free and democratic Belarus.

To mark the launch of his memoirs My Story: Belarusian Amerikanka or Elections under Dictatorship, ARTICLE 19 invited guests to an evening of conversation and discussion with Andrei Sannikov, where they could hear about his journey from the top echelons of political power to the pro-democracy opposition movement, his campaign as a presidential candidate and his experiences in the Belarusian prison system. This evening also explored the methods and effectiveness of international pressure, which Sannikov believes contributed to his release.


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ARTICLE 19 takes its name from Article 19 of the United Nations Declarion of Human Rights and envisages a world where people are free to speak their opinions, to participate in decision-making and to make informed choices about their lives

For this to be possible, ARTICLE 19 asserts that people everywhere must be able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of information, as without these rights, democracy, good governance and development cannot happen.

ARTICLE 19 therefore campaigns around the world in defence of these rights. With offices in Bangladesh, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Tunisia, Senegal, the UK and the USA and in collaboration with 90 partners worldwide, they:

– work on behalf of freedom of expression wherever it is threatened

– advise on the development of legislation to protect freedom of expression and freedom of information in countries emerging from conflict, war and genocide.

– campaign to safeguard pluralism, independence and diversity of views in the media

– champion freedom of expression, including freedom of information, as a fundamental human right that is central to the protection of other rights

– and advocate for freedom of information legislation to ensure transparency and to strengthen citizens’ participation.

To find out more about ARTICLE 19, visit their website at


Related articles:

The democratic world is too complacent about Belarus by Andrei Sannikov 

Review: “My Story” by Daniel Runde 

Same old song and dance? by Anna Maria Dyner 

Intellectual resistance: new strategies A roundtable discussion on Belarus and Ukraine, featuring Taciana Arcimovic, Iryna Hierasimovic, Andrei Liankevich, Anna Medvedeva and Alaksandr Sarna 

Imprisoned journalist’s fight for freedom comes to the stage by Linda Kinstler 

EU lifts sanctions against Belarus by 

Silence – the EU’s strategy for human rights abuses in its neighbourhood by Florian Irminger 

Belarus without sanctions: what now? by Artyom Shraibman 

Human Rights Watch UPR Submission to UNHRC: Belarus 

Belarus election ‘neither free nor fair,’ says UN human rights expert from the UN News Centre 

Euroradio: from Warsaw for Belarus by Lorenzo Berardi 

A Nobel for Svetlana Alexievich is an award for Belarus by Andrei Sannikov 

If you want to be a millionaire, go to Belarus by Malgozhata Lozovskaya 

Belarus country update from the European Forum for democracy and Solidarity