The conflict over the Polish diaspora in Belarus is gaining momentum

The conflict over the Polish diaspora in Belarus is gaining momentum

In connection with the detention of representatives of the unregistered Union of Poles in Belarus, the Bialystok City Council (Poland) suspended official partnership with the Grodno authorities. This was announced today, March 30, on the official website of Bialystok.

The city council of the Polish city at the regular session said that “they will not accept the fact that Poles from neighboring Grodno, Brest, Lida and Volkovysk are being persecuted just because they are Poles.”

“The city council of the neighboring city expresses solidarity with the previously arrested Angelica Borys, Andrzej Poczobut, Irena Bernacka, Maria Tishkovskaya, and Anna Panisheva. We also stand in solidarity with all Belarusian citizens who today are persecuted because of the struggle for freedom and democracy in their country. We call for the immediate release of all prisoners and an end to the repression, ”the city council said in a statement.
In addition, it was noted that the actions of the Belarusian authorities contradict the obligations enshrined in the 1992 Treaty between the Republic of Poland and Belarus on good-neighborliness and friendly cooperation, as well as the norms of international law. Therefore, the city council of Bialystok is in favor of the suspension of an official partnership with the authorities of Grodno. This decision was unanimously adopted during a meeting of the City Duma and will remain in force until the release of previously arrested representatives of the unregistered Union of Poles in Belarus and the end of repressions against Polish organizations and schools in the neighboring republic of Poland.

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As a reminder, Belarusian-Polish relations began to deteriorate sharply after the presidential elections in Belarus on August 9, 2020. Warsaw does not recognize the regime of Alexander Lukashenko as legitimate, and Minsk demands not to interfere in the internal affairs of the republic. During the escalating conflict in March, representatives of the Polish diaspora were arrested in Belarus. Among other things, the head of the Union of Poles, unregistered in Belarus, Anzhelika Boris, and a number of other activists were detained.