Open Letter of Human Rights Center Viasna to Ministry of Education and Heads of Educational Establishments
We, representatives of Belarusian human rights movement express our decisive protest against political persecution of students at higher educational establishments of Belarus by their administration.
Recently human rights organizations of Belarus have registered numerous cases of political persecution of students of educational establishments at places of study. Together with the liquidation of Belarusian Humanities Lyceum and European Humanities University these facts witness gross violation of the basic rights and liberties of citizens of Belarus, including violation of the academic liberties and rights of students to education. Strict censorship has been introduced in all universities, the activity of independent student organizations and student self-government is prohibited, the educational process is being politicized.
During 2004-2005 dozens of students were remanded for political reasons. During the last months the repression concerned:
 students of the journalism department of Belarusian State University Volha Klaskouskaia (journalist of Narodnaia Volia newspaper) and Aliona Andreieva (3rd year student)
 student of Maksim Tank Pedagogic University Iryna Toustsik
 student of Zhodzina Polytechnics Siarhiei Murashka
 and a number of other students and pupils.
The main reason for the persecution became the public and political position of the students and pupils. Remand of S. Murashka resulted in a hunger-strike of protest in different cities of the country.
In many cases provosts and deans of departments directly collaborate with KGB, present to it information about publicly active students and hold cooperative “prophylactic talks” with students. We consider such actions incompatible with the principles of academic liberties and disgraceful for the persons who are at the positions of deans and researchers. This practice witnesses the return of the totalitarianism of the USSR times to Belarus.
We warn the administration of these educational establishments about inadmissibility of such actions and urge them to stop persecution of students for their public and political activity. Otherwise we can use our right to initiate the public campaign aimed at suspension of the contracts that were concluded by educational and scientific organizations of Europe with the administration of these educational establishments and the Ministry of Education of Belarus.
7 June 2005
Adopted by the Board of Human Rights Center Viasna