Human rights concerns in Belarus have both Poland and the European Union expressing joint concern, after a crackdown on the country’s large ethnic Polish community. Its ousted leader, Anzelika Borys, has been at the parliament seeking to raise international awareness. In Strasbourg, the deputy speaker of the Polish lower house of parliament, Donald Tusk, said Warsaw wanted public opinion to be informed about the tensions.
He said a million Poles lived in Balarus with no basic civil rights. The EU has long criticised authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko and excludes Belarus from the bloc’s proposed European Neighbourhood good relations policy. New EU member state Poland borders what American officials have referred to as Europe’s last dictatorship.
Lukashenko accuses Poland of plotting an uprising in Belarus similar to revolutions in neighbouring Ukraine, and Georgia. When Poles in Minsk last month elected Borys as their main chairperson, the authorities saw it as a threat, seized the dissident Polish Union headquarters and installed their own choices. Both countries have expelled several diplomats and Warsaw has withdrawn its ambassador to Belarus. It has also named Borys as honorary consul to Minsk.