- Keeping Washington informed on Baltic issues since 1961 

    e-newsletter: May 14, 2014


    Online discussion reveals "Belarus - cracks in the ice" on the eve of hockey chamionship 

    On May 8, JBANC held its second online Google+ Hangout discussion, this time on the topic of Belarus and its human rights situation on the eve of the World Ice Hockey Championship.

    The year 2014 also marks the 20th year of power of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, labeled “Europe’s last dictator.” There remain a number of prominent political prisoners in Belarus, and the regime has cracked down with even more arrests of citizens just before the hockey tournament. JBANC’s Karl Altau discussed the current political landscape with a number of human rights defenders who are keeping a close eye on developments in a country that lies between the Baltics, Ukraine, and Russia.


    Vytis Jurkonis - Project Director, Freedom House, Vilnius
    Viachaslau Bortnik - Country specialist for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine at Amnesty International USA
    Alice Alexandra Kipel - Vice-President of Belarusan-American Association / Washington, DC Chapter
    Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick - veteran of the international human rights movement, currently works for The Interpreter
    Franak Viachorka - Belarusian youth leader, independent
    journalist, manager at RFE/RL Belarus Service 

    If you missed JBANC' s online discussion, the full video is available here: http://jbanc.org/?page=blog&v=2&id=57



     JBANC addresses Latvian-Americans to ask for united action and support for Ukraine 

    During the first weekend in May, JBANC's Lita Juberte had the opportunity to address Latvian-Americans on Ukraine-related issues during the American Latvian Association's (ALA) annual Congress, held this year in Philadelphia.

    During her presentation, Ms. Juberte elaborated on what JBANC has done over the past few months to support Ukraine against Russian aggression. She stressed that in the current situation, support from everyone is very crucial and she encouraged the participants to work more actively in a unified fashion. On this point, Ms. Juberte detailed numerous ways how Latvian-Americans can get involved - from writing letters, participating in rallies, organizing meetings with local representatives, and being active on social media. JBANC has been relying heavily on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and its own website to spread information, relay media coverage and to help debunk some of the misinformation emanating from the Kremlin. Ms. Juberte currently serves as Public Affairs Manager of JBANC.
    Read the full story here: jbanc.org/?page=blog&v=3&id=19

    More photos from ALA Congress see here:

    Standing up for Belarus via human rights campaigns

    With the World Ice Hockey Championship taking place May 9-25, JBANC has gotten involved in several public human rights actions to draw attention to ongoing issues in Belarus.

    Together with more than 20 other human rights organizations, JBANC joined Freedom House to urge Belarus to take action towards making the country open and democratic, where fair play is not only a motto, but a way of living. See the joint statement here - freedomhouse.org/article/belarus-must-play-fair-sports-and-beyond#.U3Hi54jD_mR

    JBANC also joined other organizations to release another statement expressing hope that this hockey championship shine a light on human rights abuses in Belarus. "For the next two weeks, we are all hockey fans and human rights defenders. Whether in the United States, the Baltics, or beyond, we must stand with the embattled citizens of Belarus, ensuring that President Lukashenka respects their fundamental rights and freedoms,” echoes JBANC in this joint statement.
    Read it here: www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/iihf-world-championship-offers-opportunity-shine-light-human-rights-abuses-Belarus

    Chicago rally in support of Ukraine brings together Baltic-Americans

    On Sunday April 27, about 200 people gathered on Chicago's lakefront to march in support of Ukraine. The Baltic communities were also represented - with demonstrators and national flags.

    The march began in Millennium Park and ended at Daley Plaza, when the Star Spangled Banner and the Ukrainian National anthem were sung and prayers offered. The Ukrainian community expressed their sincere gratitude for the outside support that they received.
    JBANC thanks Lithuanian activist Rima Gungor for helping to organize the rally with her Ukrainian colleagues.

    See pictures from march here:

    The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) is a non-profit organization that monitors issues affecting Baltic-American communities in the United States and the nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. JBANC helps to coordinate Baltic-American activities in Washington, DC with the U.S. Congress, administration, NGO’s and other groups.
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    JBANC represents: 

    Estonian American National Council, Inc., (http://www.estosite.org/)

    American Latvian Association, Inc., (http://www.alausa.org/en/)

    Lithuanian American Council, Inc. (http://altcenter.org/)


    © 2014 Joint Baltic American National Committee - JBANC

JBANC (the Joint Baltic American National Committee) is a non-profit organization that monitors issues affecting Baltic-American communities in the United States and the nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. JBANC helps to coordinate Baltic – American activities in Washington, DC with the U.S. Congress, administration, NGO’s and other groups.

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