Salihorsk Belarusian-speaking activists fight for language rights
A number of residents of the town of Salihorsk have addressed local authorities with an appeal to secure the actual equality of the Belarusian language with the other state language, Russian, as required by Article 17 of the Constitution and the Law “On Languages in the Republic of Belarus”.
“In the absence of a national Belarusian school, we have only Russian in almost all areas of life. Such negligence of the native language was not observed even during the Stalin-era linguicide,” says the appeal.
It is worth noting that among the signers there are heads of local office of the Belarusian Language Society Mikalai Sharavar and Uladzimir Masakouski, human rights defenders Leanid Markhotka and Aliaksei Valabuyeu, as well as civil activist Uladzimir Shyla.
The appeal was considered by Salihorsk District Council of Deputies and the local district executive committee. According to the officials, of the 34 institutions of secondary education 19 schools are Belarusian, of 33 preschools there are 10 Belarusian-language kindergartens and one Preschool Child Development Centre. In total, the Belarusian-language institutions are attended by 1,834 students and 821 children. The authorities did not specify the location of these facilities, but it is known that there are no urban institutions among them. As yet, there is only one Belarusian group formed at the request of parents in Salihorsk-based kindergarten № 38, which is attended by 20 children.