2009 06/11
Janka Lapicki

Janka Lapicki

It is still difficult to say for how long and under which conditions the studies will be conducted in Belarusian as written responses to the parents’ addresses in Zhodzina Executive Committee and Gymnasium № 1 have not come yet.

However, a student who missed an entire academic quarter through the officials’ fault was invited by phone to return to Gymnasium № 1 to continue his Belarusian-language education…

To remind you that a Belarusian-speaking student, a son of Zhodzina human rights defenders, members of the HRC “Viasna”, Yanka Lapitsky, was deprived of the right for education in his native language and was not taught in Gymnasium № 1 in Zhodzina for the whole quarter because of the undue and destructive inaction of local officials and Minsk “vertical”.

Finally, it seemed that the case shifted from the “dead point” when in response to another written parents’ protest addressed to Mr. Aliaksandr Radzkou, the Minister of Education, Mr. Faryna, the Deputy Minister answered finally mentioning the possibility to continue Belarusian-language studies of Yanka in the premises of Gymnasium № 1 in Zhodzina.

However, the parents still did not receive at least some written response on their requests on the implementation of this possibility. The requests were filed in time to the directorate of local educational institutions (the first was filed on 31.08.2009), including an extra request sent after the said response from the Ministry of Education. In addition, the latest address to the Executive Committee made in early October 2009 also remains unanswered. In this regard, the victims of the continuation of politically motivated harassment and discrimination on ethnic and linguistic grounds had to apply to the general prosecutor of Zhodzina on 20.10.2009, just before the meeting of the Commission on Juvenile of the Zhodzina Executive Committee.

Still the fact remains. As soon as one of higher coordinating subjects of educational system (of course under the pressure of the parents) dare not to violate constitutional rights (we can only assume whom the high officials had to fear!?) and mention in writing the fact of existing possibility for continuing the teaching of Belarusian-speaking Yanka in the Gymnasium of Zhodzina since the beginning of the school year, as a system of “stubborn” commanding pressure lost foothold and skidded.

In these circumstances the meeting of “Commission” where the parents of Belarusian-speaking student were called out to put an additional administrative pressure upon them, turned for the officials into a literacy class on the basics of constitutional and international law on human rights.

Human rights activist Aliaksei Lapitsky drew attention to the views and beliefs, natural for the citizens of independent European Belarus that are being violated in attempts to implement discriminatory and completely illegal decision No.928 of the Zhodzina Executive Committee on a factual deprivation of the rights to have studies in Belarusian language and forcing his Belarusian-speaking son Yanka to have studies in Russian language .

He warned that any person, especially the one in the state office with respective duties and responsibilities should not violate basic civil and political rights fixed in the universally recognized standards and norms of constitutional law as well as in the provisions of existing national legislation and thus, of course must assure to fulfill them.

The following documents were presented to the “Commission”: the copies of relevant documents of correspondence, the requests without the answers from Gymnasium № 1, a copy of the last response from the Ministry of Education as well as a copy of the latest parents’ address of 20.10.2009 to Zhodzina general prosecutor’s office on the facts of discrimination, wrongful action/inaction of the officials of the “vertical power” and the education system, as well as violations of the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Appeals of Citizens.”

As a result of this confident, clearly provided legal and civil position supported by documentary evidence of illegal and destructive behavior of officials a positive decision was issued. The decision notes that Zhodzina Town Department of Education in the 5-day period should decide on further education of the minor Yanka Lapitsky.

After that Yanka’s parents had a call from the school and were invited back to school. According to the teachers, the room from which a desk and board were promptly took away after director’s order, and which was already prepared for the school technical service, had to be ready back to continue the process of study.

Thus, the only thing that we can state before some clear details embodied in written responses or decisions for the aforesaid questions appear, is that at this stage Belarusian-speaking student has got the possibility to return to his Gymnasium № 1, and intends to continue his studies at the specialized gymnasium program in his native language.

Prepared by Ales Leta,
Belarusian Legal Portal,

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