Valiantsin Stefanovich: ‘Ministry of Education should adequately react to its official’s actions’
On 15 January Mrs. Taisa Danilevich, head of the Education Department of Minsk Regional Executive Committee, urged 6 teachers – Natallia Ilyinich (Talka, BPF), Mikola Liashchun (Lahoisk, BPF), Ales Yazvinski (Niasvizh, CCP-BPF), Uladzimir Pareika (Niasvizh district, BSDP), Siarhei Klimionak (Vileika, UCPB) and Nadzeya Ahafonava (Liuban, UCPB) – to stop their membership in various political parties of Belarus. The official thinks the teachers cannot work at schools.
Two teachers out of six have lodged complaints with local prosecutor’s offices, RFE/RL reports. Similar complaints have been lodged by heads of the BPF’s and the UCPB’s regional offices. The Ministry of Educations provides no comments on the incident.
Valiantsin Stefanovich, lawyer of the Human Rights Center Viasna, believes that the harassment is an outrage against human rights and the Constitution of Belarus:
‘The Fundamental Law guarantees that everyone can be member of a political party or an NGO, and have his or her own political beliefs. Therefore, the fact can be called a politically-motivated labour discrimination against citizens. Such discrimination is forbidden by the Constitution and Article 14 of the Belarusian Labour Code. None of the known legal act prevents teachers from being members of political parties. The only exception is military men, prosecutors and judges.’
Article 3 of the Law on Political Parties says that membership in a political party cannot result in any restriction of rights or freedoms, namely the right to labour.
Belarusian human rights activists believe that the teachers should immediately lodge complaints with local prosecutor’s offices against the official’s illegal actions, since she violated the Constitutional rights of Belarusian citizens.
‘It seems to us that the harassment is tied to the upcoming local council elections. It is a very sad practice and we do hope that it is not the official position of the Ministry of Education, but a private initiative by the official,’ says Mr. Stefanovich.
Human rights activists hope that the Ministry of Education will draw certain conclusions and adequately react to its official’s illegal actions to protect the legitimate interests of Belarusian citizens.