2010 06/01
Аляксей Лапіцкі, Жодзіна

Аlaksiej Lapicki, Zhodzina

The Zhodzina human rights defender Aliaksei Lapitski, as a continuation of correspondence on the collective claims from the residents of the ‘Chernobyl House’ registered today, 05.01.2010, his appeal to local authorities in the executive committee of Zhodzina.

In his successive collective appeals in 2008 and 2009 the residents voiced their legitimate rights and asked the local public utilities, when replacing the old signs with the street name for a new one, to leave the Belarusian-language inscription on it, as well as large, to make visible from a distance inscriptions on the walls of the house in two languages, including Belarusian.

The residents recall that the construction work on the thermal rehabilitation of the left end of the residential ‘Chernobyl House’ at 3 F. Skaryny Avenue, at the time were begun only under pressure from the public before the elections of 2008, after a collective appeal to the housing department.

The last two collective appeals (in 2008 and 2009) to the housing department containing the legitimate demands of the building’s residents were replied by negative responses, both from Acting Director Belavusau (response № 284/01-08 of 14.10.2008), and from the Director of Zhodzina Housing Department Huminski (reply № 205/01-08of 04.11.2009).

Meanwhile, to justify their refusals to comply with legitimate requests of the citizens of Belarus on the street names in their household (including) in the state Belarusian language, both high officials referred to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus (!!?)

Their responses referred to the fact that “the inscriptions on the houses and buildings passports in Zhodzina are given in Russian, with the knowledge and the decision of the Executive Committee of Zhodzina, which supposedly fully complies with Art. 17 of the Constitution of Belarus (!?).

Supposing it is true, one might think that the Basic Law of Belarus indeed contains such a strange Article 17 (!?), reference to which can allegedly legitimately deny the citizens of Belarus their right to see the inscriptions on their own homes with street names in their native language! !?

However, if you read this Article, it becomes clear that no similar conclusions seem possible. Thus, Art. 17 of the Constitution only states that “the state languages of Belarus are the Belarusian and Russian languages.”

So, maybe for the officials with relevant thought it is enough to completely exclude the Belarusian language, both from the visual environment, and from the system of quality high school education in Zhodzina!? The recent case with Decision № 928 by the executive committee of Zhodzina is another proof to the fact. Since early 2009, this decision eliminated the last high school Belarusian-language course in gymnasium № 1 in Zhodzina, which had been attended by the Belarusian-language son of Aliaksei Lapitski, Yanka.

It turns out that the discrimination of Belarusian-speaking citizens and citizens with legitimate language and Belarusian national interests in Belarus is carried out with mere reference to the fact that in Belarus along with the Belarusian language the status of additional state language is given to the Russian language as well? However, the latter in no way indicates that the state status of the Belarusian language may be somehow undervalued or even eliminated! The priority of the national Belarusian element in the nationally unitary country of Belarus has obviously been and remains Belarusian-oriented.

To explain this, and to demand the implementation the legitimate national interests of the claimants in his address to the officials of the executive committee Aliaksei Lapitski refers to a number of Articles of the Constitution of Belarus (Art. 50, Art. 52, Art. 53, Art. 54, Art. 58 and Art. 59), which suggest the true meaning of Art. 17 of the Constitution, and the respective responsibilities of local government officials to “take necessary measures to implement and protect human rights and freedoms” (Article 59) without any compulsion to “give up one’s rights” (art.58) with preservation of “historic, cultural and spiritual heritage and other national values “(Article 54) and respect for “the dignity, rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of others ” (Art.53) and “the national traditions” of Belarus (Article 52).

It is clear that the national language, the native language of Belarusians in Belarus, is a major key factor in the national cultural traditions, heritage and the most important distinctive national treasure of the Belarusian people; the language of the titular nation of Belarus is also the honor, dignity, rights and freedoms, the most natural and legitimate interests of every citizen of the independent and sovereign Belarus… Such a phenomenon should only be welcome by civilized local authorities if they are indeed Belarusian, if they are elected by the Belarusian people and reflect their national interests…

And now, as it indeed follows from the Constitution and its (of current power) “public functions”, the authorities should really help in respecting the rights and freedoms of citizens, or “bear responsibility for actions that violate individual rights and freedoms” (Article 59).

Obviously, the responsibility for such unlawful actions by officials in today’s Belarus is not sufficient.

What would become of such an absurd interpretation of the Articles of the Constitution and other laws (not in favor of the inalienable rights and freedoms of citizens), as well as the discriminatory wrongful decisions of the executive committee (such as Decision #928 on the Elimination of the last high school Belarusian-language class in Zhodzina), if these “responsible persons” were really responsible for the actions before the law?!

The answer is known to everybody…

Ales Volny

Belarusian Legal Portal

by.prava-by.info

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