The Supreme Council of the Union of Poles will not stage a repeated congress of its organization, as required by the Ministry of Justice
On 14 May the Supreme Council of the Union of Poles in Hrodna unanimously decided not to hold a new congress as required by the Ministry of Justice. Representatives of most of the Belarusian regions attended the session. Out of 35 members of the Council, 25 attended the session, the others gave their agreement over the phone.
The session of the Council of the Union of Poles lasted three hours, reported Radio Liberty. The main issue on the agenda was how to respond to the Ministry of Justice decision that invalidated the latest 6th congress of the Union, which took place in Hrodna two months ago. The Ministry of Justice decision claims the old leadership of the Union of Poles has the legitimate powers to decide on the date for a repeated congree within two weeks. After the session of the Council was over, Anzhalika Borys said: "The members of the Council attended the congress and are indignant at the decision that we regard as interference of the Belarusian government with the affairs of a public association, which violates our rights as a minority".
The members of the Council reacted to a 45 minute film about the Union of Poles shown on the Belarusian television in a very emotional way. It was called in a "thriller-like" manner – "Who ordered the Union of Poles?" The authors used some of the police-made footage, and also speeches made by the former chair of the Union Tadeusz Kruczkowski to some of his associates. Individual Polish diplomats, in particular Mark Butsko of the Minsk Embassy, were accused of attempting to draw the Union of Poles into a political struggle on the side of the Belarusian opposition.
Anzhalika Borys says: "The people were indignant because this is shameful and disgraceful: in 16 years of the organization existence, the man who lost cannot concede his defeat and uses various methods, some of them may lead to the destruction of the organization as such".
Ms Borys noted that the former leadership of the Union organized and conducted the 6th congress. Now these people "claim it is illegitimate using the power structures in the process".
The Ministry of Justice decision says that it has cancelled the results of the congress in response to a complaint from the members of the Union of Poles, including some delegates of the congress. Meanwhile, the lawyers note that this decision is a recommendation. The editor of Magazyna Polskiego Andrei Pachobut, who is a lawyer by profession, says: "They did not warn us, they only recommended holding a new congress. We believe this demand is not legal and does not meet the Belarusian legislation and undermines the dignity of the Belarusian Poles".
Mr. Pachobut notes that when the Ministry of Justice issues a warning to the Union of Poles, then they will appeal against it in the Supreme Court.