PAC Calls on Belarusan Govt. to Protect  Polish Ethnic Minority
Now Under Siege in Former Soviet Republic

Washington, DC Feb. 17, 2010 -- The Polish American Congress (PAC), the umbrella organization of Polish Americans in the United States, on Wednesday called on the government of Belarus to ensure that Polish minority group rights, currently under siege in that country, are respected.

PAC President Frank Spula noted that in recent weeks Belarusan militia has repeatedly harassed members of the Polish minority living in the former Soviet republic. More than a week ago, he recalled, Belarusan authorities seized the headquarters home of the Union of Poles in Belarus, a 400,000-member organization that represents ethnic Poles and that is not officially recognized by authorities.

On Monday, paramilitary police in that country arrested some 40 Union of Poles members who sought to attend court proceedings regarding the fate of the group's Polish House in Ivyenets.

"Militia aggression must stop, ethnic harassment must end, or the world community will feel obliged to vigorously and meaningfully censure the government of Belarus," Spula said. "The president there, Aleksandr Lukashenko, needs to know that he and his regime are under the glare of international vigilance, paying very careful attention to the issue of human rights violations, including how ethnic minorities in Belarus, such as Poles, are treated."

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