EP backs persecuted Poles in Belarus

The European Parliament (EP) on Thursday condemned the Belarusian authorities' continued persecution of the country's democratic opposition, including members of the Polish minority.

In a special resolution, the EP spoke out against the treatment of anti-government dissidents in Belarus, and in this context also sharply criticised repressions against the Polish minority.

Especially mentioned were police raids on the homes of the Polish community's leaders, attempts to close down Polish-language schools, and the deliberate destruction of Polish cemeteries and memorial sites.

Anna Fotyga, a former Polish foreign minister and current MEP, who helped prepare the resolution, said: "Strasbourg has sent out a very strong voice in support of the persecuted Polish minority."

She added that the resolution also praises Poland for its efforts to aid Poles in Belarus.

Among the most prominent Polish persecution victims are Andrzej Poczobut, a Belarusian-Polish journalist and activist of the officially banned Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), and the union's Leader Andzelika Borys, both of whom were arrested on March 25, 2021.

Poczobut, who remains in prison, has been charged with "instigating hatred on religious and national grounds," and "rehabilitating Nazism." Borys was released in March, 2022, but may still face charges.

Several other leading Polish minority figures have left the country.