Belarusian Christian Democracy’s youth wing holds founding conference in Minsk

Young Christian Democrats held a founding conference on November 3...

Young Christian Democrats (YCD), the young wing of the Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) party, held a founding conference in Minsk on November 3.

Maryna Khomich, 23, was elected chairwoman of the organization. The university-trained philologist was on the ballot in September’s parliamentary elections, having been nominated by the United Civic Party (UCP). Just like all other UCP candidates, she withdrew from the elections before voting began.

Viktoryya Radziyewskaya was elected deputy chairwoman and international secretary and Volha Kavalkova was elected deputy chairwoman.

Speaking after her election, Ms. Khomich said that the existence of political prisoners was Belarus’ biggest problem. “Two of our leaders, Pavel Sevyarynets and Yawhen Vaskovich, are in prison now and we have to fight for their release,” she said, referring to members of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party.

The activist recalled that YCD and an opposition youth group called Malady Front had launched a website for collecting signatures for the release of political prisoners. “We have no doubts that the authorities will not give ear to our opinion, even if we gather 20,000 to 100,000 signatures. But our friends in prison will know that thousands of people have come out in their support,” she said.

She promised that the organization would work to promote the Belarusian language, campaign against abortions and reach out to young people, in particular university students. “We must set up our chapters in every dormitory or educational institution,” she said.

Ms. Khomich said that YCD already had good contacts with Christian Democrat groups in Germany and Norway and would seek to forge contacts with more foreign partners.

She emphasized the importance of drawing up a program of specific proposals for improving the situation in Belarus. “Recently, we have talked much about what we oppose but have not said what we propose. We must get our positive program across to youths,” she said.