Polish American Congress Condemns
Abuses of Polish Minority by the Belarusian Government

August 15 - In reaction to Belarusian government's draconian violations of the Polish-Belarusian community the PAC responds with strongest protest supporting the Department of State's stand concerning violations of human rights. Following is the August 9, 2005, letter to the Secretary of State, The Honorable Condoleezza Rice, signed by PAC President Mrs. Virginia Sikora:

Chicago, August 9, 2005

Hon. Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Honorable Secretary of State:

The Polish American Congress, representing more than 10 million Americans of Polish heritage, condemns the recent actions by the government of Belarus against the Union of Poles in Belarus, the largest independent non-government organization and one which represents the 500,000 Polish minority living in that country.

The most recent episode occurred on July 26/27, when the Belarusian militia forced its way into the headquarters of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB) and removed 15 individuals from the building, including Andzelika Borys, who was democratically elected in March to the ZPB leadership. Several members were arrested on clearly fabricated charges, and Tadeusz Kruczkowski, who is unquestioningly obedient to Lukashenko's administration, was reinstated as ZPB leader.

This latest dispute between the Polish minority in Belarus and the government of President Alexander Lukaszhenko has escalated from March 2005, when the government tried to force the democratically elected president Andzelika Borys to resign in favor of leaders loyal to Lukaszhenko. In May 2005 the government prevented the printing of the Union of Poles' publication & Glos znad Niemna" and later completely took over its publication. In June the leader of regional office of the Union of Poles near Minsk was murdered under suspicious circumstances.

In these past two months, Belarus has closed 80 percent of the local offices of three major parties, levied massive fines against independent newspapers and arrested many activists.

The Polish American Congress strongly supports and endorses the condemnation issued by the U.S. Department of State on August 2, 2005, in the name of President Bush and our government, of the actions taken by the Belarusian government against the Union of Belarusian Poles, actions which trample on human rights of Belarusian citizens.

Having fought for liberty throughout its history, the Polish people will staunchly defend their democratic rights, and the Polish American Congress will continue to support the rights of an independent minority in Belarus.

Respectfully,
Virginia Sikora, President

Copy to:
Ambassador Mikhail Khostov
Embassy of Belarus
1619 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, DC

 
Our Offices:
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Fax: (773) 286-4937
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Washington, DC 20006
Tel.: (202) 296-6955
Fax: (202) 835-1565
E-mail: pacwash@pac1944.org



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