On February 17th 2023 Dr Wlodzimierz Mier Jedrzejowicz, Chairman of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain based in London, sent a letter of protest to the Charge d'Affaires at the Belarus Embassy to express the outrage of Poles in the UK at the 8 year sentence in Belarus of Andrzej Poczobut, a Polish community leader and journalist. He was found guilty on trumped up charges of promoting disorder and neo-nazism in Belarus, and was listed as a "terrorist", because of his support for Western sanctions against Belarus.
The Federation of Poles in Great Britain sees this sentence as part of a pattern of repression against the independent Polish organizations in Belarus. This included the confiscation and sell off the abolished Polish Education Society headquarters, the conversion of the 4 Polish-speaking day schools in Belarus into Russian language schools, and the liquidation of the Union of Poles in Belarus, which is a sister organization to the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, as both are members of World Polonia Council. Since March 2021 community leaders have been arrested for celebrating Polish Saints' days and offered a choice between imprisonment and permanent expulsion from the country. To this day, the Chairman of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Ms Andzelika Borys, is under house arrest awaiting trial, after the earlier collapse of her health in prison.
The Polish ethnic minority have been living in Western Belarus since the Middle Ages, yet at least 14 historic pre-war and wartime Polish cemeteries are now being levelled with the ground and individual graves of Polish soldiers are defaced. Polish speaking parishioners have been denied access to the historic XIXth century Polish Catholic church in Minsk (known as the "Red Church" because of the colour of its brickwork). This persecution against the Polish minority in Belarus has intensified ever since the suppression of the democratic opposition to President Lukashenka's fraudulent re-election in 2020.
The Federation of Poles in Great Britain CIO has been the voice of the organized Polish community since 1946, as it amalgamates the main Polish cultural, social and educational organizations in Great Britain. For further information please contact Federation of Poles spokesman Wiktor Moszczynski at 07786471833 or enter the Federation website.