Poland and Hungary should join forces and fight for minority rights in the region

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Andzelika Borys, the leader of the Polish community in Belarus (Union of Poles in Belarus) said the situation of the Polish minority in Belarus and the Hungarian minorities in the neighbouring countries have certain similarities and it would be important that the two governments join forces in solving minority issues in the region.

In an interview with Magyar Hirlap, Ms. Borys outlined the situation of the Polish minority in Belarus. The Union of Poles in Belarus (Polish: Związek Polaków na Białorusi) has a membership of 20,000 representing the Polish minority numbering about 400,000, as per official data (and much higher according to unofficial estimates).

Under the dictatorial regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the Polish minority is under tremendous pressure and recently, the Belorussian regime cracked down on the organization calling Ms. Borys a radical.

After the second world war, the eastern border of Poland was changed and a significant number of her former citizens became residents of the Soviet Union. The number of people of Polish ancestry living in Belarus are roughly the same as the size of Hungarian minority in Slovakia.

According to Ms. Borys, people of Polish descent living in Belarus are considered second class citizens; her organization is prosecuted because the group identified itself, as an independent organization. The main goal of her group is to maintain Polish culture and tradition, in Belarus; they are operating, in accord with the Belorussian constitution.

Unlike the treasonous Gyurcsany – Bajnai regime that never helped the Hungarian minority fighting for its constitutional rights in the neighbouring countries, the Polish government stood up against the oppressive Belorussian regime trying to ban the Union of Poles in Belarus. According to Ms. Borys, without this support her organization would not have survived.

She said the Belorussian regime afraid of making minority issues an international affair. She is hoping that the European Union will put pressure on the Belorussian government because this is the only approach the regime understands.

She said it would be important that the Hungarian government support the Polish government in defending minority rights, in the region because the situation of the Polish minority in Belarus and the Hungarian minorities in the neighbouring countries are in many respects similar. (Note: Obviously, under the criminal Gyurcsany – Bajnai regime this kind of cooperation between the two governments have zero chance, but changes are coming; theres is reason to be optimistic)

Poland has sizable minorities (250,000) living in Lithuania, and 150,000 in Ukraine; however, unofficially, more than a million Ukrainian citizens have Polish ancestry. The Polish minority in Ukraine suffers from the same linguistic restrictions like the Hungarian minority, as the Ukrainian government curbed the use of mother tongue, in educational institutions.

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