2010 21/01

At 10-00 a.m. 21.01.2010 Zhodzina Court deputy chair Tatziana Tratsiuk scheduled a meeting (conversation) on the complaint by the parents of Yanka Lapitski, who, after a discriminatory decision № 928 by Zhodzina executive committee, was forcibly deprived of the right to continue secondary school education in the mother language at Zhodzina’s only Gymnasium № 1, where he studied since 2002 under a Belarusian-language curriculum with a priority study of English.

Just like in 2004, when Yanka’s Belarusian-language education was also forcibly suppressed for as much as a year and 2 months, the decision was argued by a need for budgetary savings (!?). In 2005, the outcome of the struggle of parents, Zhodina human rights defenders of the HRC “Viasna”, the leaders of the local Skaryna Belarusian Language Sociaty and the BPF local office, Aliaksei and Sviatlana Lapitskis, was the abolition of the discriminatory decision by Zhodzina executive committee. After that, Yanka continued his studies in a separate room and successfully engaged in it until its termination by the new leadership of the Executive Committee (decisions taken in 2004-2005 by Kasheuski, and in 2009 – Hryshchanka) by reversal of their own decisions about continuing education of the Belarusian-speaking teenager in his native language.

In 2009, the Belarusian-speaking schoolboy, who together with his parents had the whole weight of overt discrimination on political, linguistic and ethnic grounds, as well as on the grounds of dissent, in the light of modern Belarusian ideological trends, especially after the parents’ active supervisory monitoring of the 2008 elections and ahead of the new election campaign in 2010… – having studied in school in total for just over a week (from 01.09.2009 – 5 days, and also 3-4 days after the entry into force of Decree № 417 of the Commission on Minors of Zhodzina Executive Committee) which ordered to continue the education of the Belarusian-speaking boy at gymnasium № 1 contrary to the demands and desires of the director of the state educational institution Henadz Karshun. The latter with reference to the “anonymous” phone call from Minsk (he does not mention the name and post of the authority), despite the positive Decree № 417 by the Commission, decided to stop further training of Yanka at Gymnasium № 1.

Further appeals to the Ministry of Education reminded running in circles. The officials promised to resolve the issue, but no one dared to take personal responsibility to stop the discriminatory violence and mockery over the Belarusian-speaking boy and his parents.

Having submitted three more complaints to Minsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office, Zhodzina executive committee and the town’s education department…, they lodged a complaint with the court of Zhodzina.

In their complaint, the human rights defenders demanded to stop the discriminatory violence for political, national and linguistic grounds, to stop attempts to force them and their son to renounce their own beliefs and the natural national identity by revoking the illegal decision number 928, to enforce Belarus’ (its powerful legal subjects) responsibilities and provide appropriate conditions for continuing education in secondary school of their son in Belarusian in the specified educational institution of Zhodzina.

Thus, starting with conversations with the parties on 20.01.2010, the trial probably will be able to show how much the judicial system matured now to effectively and efficiently exercise their own professionalism and independence – to influence the improvement of the legal situation in the country, to communicate and clarify to the subjects of law with the authority (and the respective responsibilities of the citizens) the boundaries of their administrative skills under possible, but strictly regulated by the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, restrictions of civil and political rights.

Will Yanka’s right to study in Belarusian in Belarus be restored?! In the native language – in his native country?! ….

Ales Volny,

Belarusian Legal Portal,


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