First Consideration of Cases of Accused Members of Weekly of Belarussians in Poland Niva
On 11 May Eugeniusz Wappa, chief editor of Niva weekly said:
-- Today the accuser, the procurator’s office of Bialystok, presented to us the proposals of so called “conditional punishment”. Actually, it was a proposal for us to plead guilty. In this case we would be sentenced to conditional punishment and fined 600 zlotys. We, in our turn, think we are innocent. That’s why we didn’t agree to this proposal. As a result the judge decided to make a trial on the case.
Human Rights Center Viasna is concerned with the discriminative actions of Polish authorities towards Belarusian national minority in Poland.
We call people to turn attention to the situation of Niva weekly and schools with study of Belarusian language in Bialystok area.
Authoritative public activists, members of the Program Board of the weekly of Belarusians of Poland Niva Eugeniusz Wappa, Eugeniusz Mironovicz, Michal Androsiuk, Jury Chmelewski and Michal Stelmaszuk were charged with misuse of the financial means, issued by the Polish state to support the edition.
We consider these actions of Polish authorities as a form of intimidation of Belarusian national minority with the aim to exclude it from cultural, civil and political life of Poland.
The fact that Polish authorities repeat the policy that exists in Belarus under A. Lukashenka’s authoritarian rule that is oriented on rusification of Belarusian society and discrimination of Belarusian culture and education is very disturbing.
We think that it is in the interests of the Republic of Poland to develop the traditions of tolerance.
Republic of Poland is a member of the European Union. It has ratified the basic pacts and conventions of the UN and undertook to save the rights of national minorities.
That’s why Human Rights Center Viasna urges the country’s authorities to stop manifestations of discrimination and ensure abidance by the international undertakings on human rights in relation to Belarusian national minority.