Poland condemns repression of Polish minority in Belarus

The Polish Foreign Ministry has accused the Belarusian authorities of violating “international norms” with its treatment of Belarus’s Polish minority.

In its "#FreePolesinBelarus" tweet on Thursday night, the Foreign Ministry stated that a policy of repression targeting the Polish minority in Belarus had been sharply stepped up in recent days.

The Foreign Ministry said that Andżelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut, two leaders of the Polish community, had been arrested for their work, and that other activists had also been persecuted.

Poczobut, a board member of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), was detained by the Belarusian authorities on Thursday morning, the day after Borys, the ZPB leader was sentenced to 15 days in jail.

"This is a violation of international norms," the ministry wrote, adding that the (Belarusian) regime would not go unpunished for persecuting Poles living in Belarus.

A spokesman for the US Department of State told PAP on Thursday that the Lukashenko regime had to stop its policy of repression and immediately release Borys and all the detained activists.

Gitanas Nauseda, the Lithuanian president, added his weight to the diplomatic pressure being applied to Belarus. In a tweet posted on Thursday addressed to the Polish prime minister and foreign minister he said that the leaders of the Polish minority in Belarus were the victims of the Lukashenko regime.

He added that Lithuania shared Poland's deep concern over the recent developments in Belarus and added that actions targeting the Polish minority had violated Belarus' international obligations regarding the protection of national minorities.