James Bond

Press Attache, Press Section

U.S. Embassy Warsaw

Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31

00-540 Warsaw Poland

Tel.: +48-22/504-2000

BondJB@state.gov BondJB@state.gov


Przemyslaw Grudzinski

Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in the United States of America
2640 16-th Street, NW
Washington DC 20009, 
phone: (202) 234-3800, 
e-mail: polemb.info@earthlink.net

Rolf Ekeus
the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
P.O. Box 20062, 2500 EB The Hague, Netherlands
E-mail: hcnm@hcnm.org 


Bureau of Public Information, UNESCO

7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Alvaro Gil-Robles
Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe
The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe
e-mail: commissioner.humanrights@coe.int


Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
Kancelaria Prezydenta RP
Ul.Wiejska 10, 00-902 Warszawa, Polska

Louise Arbour
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Petitions Team
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022
(particularly for urgent matters)
E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org


Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz

Minister spraw zagranicznych
Ministerstwo spraw zagranicznych
Al.J.Ch.Szucha 23
00-580 Warszawa, Polska

Minority Rights Group International
54 Commercial Street
London E1 6LT, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7422 4200
Fax: +44 (0)20 422 4201
E-mail: minority.rights@mrgmail.org

Jozef Oleksy
Marszalek Sejmu
Kancelarja Sejmu
Ul. Wiejska 4/6/8
00-902 Warszawa, Polska


Dear Madame/Sir,

The readers and editorial board of The Virtual Guide to Belarus are concerned with the situation developing around the weekly of the Belarusians in Poland “Niva” (Bialystok): http://niva.iig.pl/ Since 1956, the newspaper “Niva” has been playing an important role in preserving the idea of the Belarusian identity and independence not only in Poland, but in Belarus as well. “Niva” has a due respect among Belarusian Diaspora all around the world.

Unfortunately, in Bialystok Region, there are forces that have begun their actions of a discriminative kind towards the Belarusian minority in Poland. In essence, the weekly “Niva” and the signs of the Belarusians’ national life in Poland are being destroyed right now. We consider the accusations of the Region’s Prosecutor's Office Bialystok-North against the weekly “Niva” as a form of intimidation of the Belarusian community in Poland aimed at excluding the Belarusians of Bialystok Region from the country’s political life.

The pressure upon the weekly “Niva”, the revision of the Highest Control Chamber in the schools with the additional courses of the Belarusian language and the yearly demands of presenting the parents’ declarations concerning their children’s desire to be educated in their native tongue reveal an alarming symptom and a recurrence of the policy of the 1970’s and 1930’s when some Belarusian education establishments in Poland were closed and the Belarusian writing, language and school system were at the vanishing point.

The readers and editorial board of The Virtual Guide to Belarus do hope that with your assistance the highest powers of Poland, the country that has recently become a full member of the European Union, will pay their attention to the situation with the weekly “Niva” and stop the persecution of the people according to their nationality. We do hope that the Belarusan minority in Poland will have the right for preservation of their ethnic cultural heritage.
Born in Hrodna - a city on Belarusian Western border with Poland - I have personally known the Belarusian cultural leaders - victims of pre-WWII Polish secret service "Defenzyva" prosecution of Belarusians in Western Belarus. The prosecution of Belarusian culture continues in Poland today. 400,000 Belarusian nationals of Podlassa region, who were given by Nikita Khrushchev to Poland as a Communist Comrade's Gift have now dwindled down to 10,000 officially recorded Belarusians due to continuous prosecutions of Belarusian culture and Belarusian nationals in Poland. If Poland seriously desires to join civilized Western society it needs to abandon these nationalist practices and learn the basic democratic values. Learning to appreciate cultural diversity and the values that minorities bring to society is one of them.
Alex Artsyukhovich, Ph. D.
Editor of The Virtual Guide to Belarus
Dana Point, CA