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2003 2003-06-05T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Recently the work to protect believers’ rights has been done in 2 clearly defined spheres. The first is about the new Law on the freedom of consciousness and religious organizations. It’s about the issues of permission to have gatherings, implementing activities of religious organizations and their registration. The second sphere is about propaganda at the state-owned mass media and its consequences. We see the recent situation in Asipovichy school #2, Mahilow region as the result of such anti-Protestant propaganda.
Yury Dzindziuk, student of Asipovichy school #2, moved to Asipovichy in 2002. He came from Moldova together with his mother and brother, after his father had died. “When they learned in school that I was a Christian they started jeering at me, both teachers and fellow-students”, -- wrote the 9th-grader in his letter to the local church pastor, where he went to Sunday school.
School principal Raisa M. Samusevich just utters threats and does nothing to help solve the conflict. Moreover, according to Yury, “she says “It’s all your fault, you provoke your classmates by wearing a pin “I love Jesus” and saying you believe in God”. Such position of the school principal provokes a negative attitude of practically all teachers, affronts from P.E. teacher, to say nothing of the school kids. “You’ve been hypnotized in the church. If it was up to me, I would have condemned you and all your family”, -- says the school principal.
The situation keeps progressing from bad to worse. Earlier Yury suffered humiliation, threats, was attacked by groups who threw garbage at him. Yury says, there have been a couple of times when they waited for him in the school bathroom to beat him. He had to get his older brother come to school to make it out.
Lawyer Dzina Shawtsova says, “such attitude and opinions are formed, on one hand, by the state propaganda, on the other hand, by the lack of information about believers and their religious feelings. It is the ultimate right of an individual to believe, whatever it is, and this right must be respected. Nobody must be able to humiliate people for their beliefs”.
Lawyers advise to address the prosecutor’s office and the education department, better not local, but the regional ones. The older generation of believers, intimidated yet during the Soviet times, is used to such situations and does not pay much attention to them. But believers’ rights still get violated, and younger people seem not to put up with that.

Yadviha Matskevich

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