2009 12/07

Janka Lapicki Zhodzina city executive committee issued a decision that is not shown to interested parties. What is the essence of this “very non-secret” decision?

On 06.07.2009, according to the director of Gymnasium № 1, Mr. Henadz Korshun, it became known that on 23.06.2009 the city executive committee issued the decision № 928, according to which the director must close the only in Zhodzina gymnasium Belarusian-language education program for Yanka Lapitski. A Belarusian-speaking boy has studied under that program since 2002. The parents are invited to send their son in the Russian-language class because of the need for savings…

Despite this oral report about the decision, the parents of Yanka Lapitski who are directly affected by the content of this document were not allowed to read its text, as well as to make a copy of this decision by its own means. The director of the Gymnasium № 1, Henadz Korshun, and the head of internal affairs of Zhodzina executive committee, Siarhei Konan, refused to show the document.

The parents of Yanka Lapitski, Aliaksei Lapitski and Sviatlana Lapitskaya, are the human rights defenders of the HRC “Viasna” in Zhodzina, the members of the Skaryna association of Belarusian language and PBNF, opponents of the authorities at local and parliamentary elections, observers. It is worth to recall that Yanka Lapitski once had already been forced to stop his gymnasium education in the school № 8 for nearly a year and two months in the 2004-05 academic years.

At that time, before the elections to the House of Representatives of the Republic of Belarus, during which Aliaksei Lapitski nominated his own candidacy for PBNF, Zhodzina executive committee, controlled by Mr. Kasheuski, had already taken such a discriminatory decision.
This led to the fact that Belarusian-language student was forcibly deprived of his constitutional right to state-guaranteed free secondary education in his native language. In addition, at that time the government immediately canceled the Belarusian status of the Belarusian Zhodzina Gymnasium (secondary school № 8) and renamed it to the Gymnasium № 1 of Zhodzina.

However, the boy with his parents continued to assert his constitutional right to the end. Yanka refused to go to the Russian-language class offered him and study independently at home with his parents all the time, before the abolition by the executive committee of its discriminatory decision.

These circumstances and the facts lead to the appropriate disappointing conclusions.
As practice and human rights monitoring show, problems with the Belarusian-language teaching in Zhodzina arise permanently before the election campaigns (where both Aliaksei Lapitski and Sviatlana Lapitskaya are actively involved). And these problems arise only from the initiative of local authorities.
Thus, in Zhodzina there is a situation of instability and uncertainty for the future of Belarusian-speaking students and their parents, as well as the pressure on human rights defenders and civil society activists, observers and opponents of the regime in future elections.

The result is quite paradoxical for a normal country. Belarusian-speaking citizens and their children who are descendants of the state-formative people of Belarus, purposefully and systematically deprived of the slightest right to free choice of language learning.

Thus, in the list of subject to choose there are no specific Belarusian-language classes and courses, which would have a proper national priority and ensure stability. And artificial obstacles are created if there are requirements to ensure that choice, to create these priority educational centers, to ensure their state support. That are artificial obstacles to the realization of the inalienable right of citizens of their own – to learn on their own in their own state language in their native country Belarus (!?).

This practice of obstruction and obstacles to everything and everybody that is Belarusian and Belarusian-language by the administering institutions in national, informational and educational matters … (even in the presence of favorable special Program of the Ministry of Education of Belarus) with the links first to the lack of means, then to the lack of education and cultural thoughtlessness of the Belarusian people … – is a violation of constitutional rights of citizens and methodical undermining of the appropriate system in the country, a violation of the international standards of law reflected in the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, binding on Belarus and guaranteed by the state to its own citizens.

This practice is actually a direct reflection of malicious sabotage in educational and language, information and cultural sphere. It undermines stability and national sovereignty in the country, state independence and positive democratic prospects of Belarus to the United Europe.

Is this the way the local authority of Zhodzina perceives and understands the appeal to the head of the state to budget savings during the “not our” economic crisis and in anticipation of new “electoral battles” in the coming period of 2009-2010.

After all, it is clear that the normal understanding of a presidential appeal could not be considered as an appeal to save money by unlawful means and at the cost of violation of citizens’ constitutional rights, the Basic Law of Republic of Belarus (!).

Otherwise it can not be legal in a civilized country, among which so anxious to consider itself the official Minsk lately.

Whatever it was, but today in Zhodzina we see quite the opposite. Thus, in the end, by the Zhodzina example once again the authority demonstrates dramatically and to the whole world of their own beliefs and strategic priorities in national, linguistic and educational matters; as well as that it follows methodically the tactics of the target ideological persecution of dissidents and opponents of the regime, civil society activists and human rights defenders, especially on the eve and during the campaigns important for them.

What will happen? What will be the result? Whether our sad assumption will be confirmed? Time will answer.

And for the time present we know that parents of Yanka Lapitski and a young man are “very disappointed in this next, very untimely “attention” from the executive committee of Zhodzina and categorically refuse to accept such a “precious gift” of the local authorities.”

They “are ready to defend their inalienable right to free choice of language of teaching to the end…, right for Belarusians – “to be called as the people” in their homeland, in a unique, God-given their country, in Belarus.”

Ales Volny,

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