We will not leave our compatriots in Belarus on their own: President

We will not leave our compatriots in Belarus on their own, we will intervene in their case, President Andrzej Duda assured on Thursday. In his opinion the issue should be dealt with by the UN Security Council and he described the current situation in Belarus as “unprecedented”.

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At the National Security Bureau on Thursday, the President met with the Polish ambassador to Belarus, Artur Michalski, and with the heads of secret services, to discuss the detention of the head of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), Andżelika Borys, and Andrzej Poczobut, a member of the board of ZPB.

“It is unprecedented that the current Belarusian authorities, which are not fully legitimate, act in such a way that they arrest representatives of the Polish minority and legally operating Polish organisations,” President Duda said.

He assured that the case would continue to be monitored. He recalled that on Thursday he talked about the situation of Poles in Belarus with the Secretary General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Helga Schmid and asked her to bring the matter to the OSCE forum, so that appropriate resolutions on the matter were adopted.

He added that he also planned to talk to Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, a country that is now a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, to raise the issue of Poles living in Belarus and unlawful arrests. He emphasised that “last year’s presidential elections were rigged and established the regime despite civil protests that demanded fair and democratic principles.”. “This is absolutely unacceptable. Poland, as a neighbor of Belarus, but also, this is what I want to emphasise, as a friend of the Belarusian nation and Poles living in this nation, we stand firmly on the side of Belarus' freedom, sovereignty and democracy,” the Polish President declared.

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We call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release the president of the Union of Poles (ZPB) in Belarus, Andżelika Borys, and the...

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He recalled that the issue of Belarus was raised by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in his talks within the European Council and by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau during a meeting of NATO FMs in Brussels.

“We will not leave our compatriots in Belarus on their own, we will intervene in their case. We will use all legal methods to ensure that international law, including the rights of Poles living in Belarus as representatives of a national minority, are respected in accordance with international standards,” Poland’s head of the state stressed..

In a gesture of solidarity with Poles in Belarus, a special illumination was displayed on the facade of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. It presents activists of the Union of Poles in Belarus arrested in recent days: Andżelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut.

On Thursday morning, Andrzej Poczobut, a board member of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZBP), was detained in Grodno, Western Belarus. On Tuesday, the president of ZBP), Andżelika Borys, was detained, and on Wednesday, she was sentenced to 15 days in prison for coordinating the St. Casimir’s fair, which authorities recognised as an "illegal mass event".

ZPB is the largest organisation of the Polish minority in Belarus. In 2005, the authorities in Minsk revoked its registration.

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