2009 06/11

How long and under what conditions it is difficult to say, because so far his parents have not received any written responses to their complaints to Zhodzina executive committee and Gymnasium # 1.

However, the student who was forced to miss an academic quarter, has recently been invited to school # 1 to continue his Belarusian-language studies…

Due to unlawful and destructive inaction of Minsk and Zhodzina officials, the Belarusian-speaking student, the son of Zhodzina human rights defenders, members of the HRC Viasna, Janka Lapitskii was denied the right to education in his native language and was not permitted to attend Gymnasium #1 for three months.

Only after protests by his parents to the Minister of Education of Belarus Aliaksandr Radzkou and an answer signed by the deputy minister K. Faryno, which finally mentioned the available opportunity to continue Yanka’s education at Gymnasium # 1 in Zhodzina – the case seemed to have started ‘moving’.

However, even after the parents failed to achieve any kind of written response to their complaints, in due time filed to the Gymnasium administration (the first was filed on 31.08.2009), including the statement – issued after a further a response from the Ministry of Education. In addition, their last address to the Executive Committee, made in early October 2009, also remained unanswered. Therefore, the victims of the continuation of politically motivated harassment and discrimination on ethnic and linguistic grounds had to, before the meeting of the Juvenile Commission of Zhodzina executive committee on 20.10.2009, to apply to Zhodzina local Prosecutor’s Office.

Meanwhile, the fact is still a fact. It wasn’t until one of the higher education department officials (naturally under pressure from the parents) assumed the “courage” not to violate constitutional rights (and who could the high officials be afraid of!?) and made a written mention about the existing opportunity for the resumption of Yanka’s education in Zhodzina Gymnasium #1 since the beginning of the school year, that the system of “stubborn” bureaucracy lost a foothold and stalled.

In these circumstances, the meeting of the Commission where the parents were loaded with an additional administrative burden, turned into a campaign against illiteracy for officials on the basics of constitutional and international law on human rights.

Human rights activist Aliaksei Lapitski drew attention to the views and beliefs, natural for any citizen of independent European Belarus, which are being violated in attempts to implement discriminatory and completely illegal decision number 928 by Zhodzina executive committee aiming at complete deprivation of the boy’s right to education and his forced Russian-speaking teaching at Gymnasium #1.

He warned that any entity of law, especially that possessing authority, responsibilities and liability – should not violate basic civil and political rights enshrined in the universally accepted standards and norms of constitutional law, the provisions of existing national legislation, but promptly and unconditionally implement them, instead.

The Commission received copies of unanswered statements and lists, a copy of the last response from the Ministry of Education, as well as the recent complaint to Zhodzina prosecutor’s office of 20/10/2009 appealing against the facts of discrimination and unlawful action-inaction by local executive and education officials, as well as violations of the Law ‘On Public Appeals’.

The result of this confident, clearly stated legal and civil position, supported by documentary evidence of the unlawful and destructive behavior of government officials – was a positive written decision, whose preamble had to be correct on the merits. The decree states that Zhodzina town education department had 5 days to make a decision on the further education of the minor Yanka Lapitski.

Soon Yanka’s parents were called up from the Gymnasium and invited back to school. According to information received from the Gymnasium’s teachers, the classroom which by order of the principle had been urgently cleared, and which had been allocated for the school’s technical service, appeared to be ready for the continuation of studies.

Thus, the only true thing we can say now, which has been stated in written responses or new solutions on the aforesaid questions, is that at this stage the Belarusian-speaking schoolboy was able to return to Gymnasium # 1, and intends to continue training under the previous specialized high school program in his native language.

Ales LETA

Belarusian Legal Portal,

by.prava-by.info

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