A conference devoted to the situation of the Polish minority in Belarus was held at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday.
Among the guest speakers was Alexander Milinkevich, one of the leaders of the Belarusian democratic opposition. He told MEPs the latest repressions of the Polish minority by the authoritarian Lukashenko regime are part of preparations for next years presidential elections in Belarus.
"The conflict surrounding the Union of Poles in Belarus is not ethnic in nature but a strike at one of the biggest and most influential democratic organizations of civic society," he told MEPs.
In the opinion of Milinkevich, EU policy vis-a-vis Belarus has not been able to deal effectively with the authorities in Minsk.
Andzelika Borys, president of the Union of Poles in Belarus, who was also in Brussels stressed that the EU has a vital role to play in safeguarding the observance of human rights in Belarus. She also considers the present conflict of the regime with ethnic Poles as a manifestation of anti-democratic actions by Minsk.
"The problem of the Union of Poles in Belarus is not an issue between Poles and Belarusians only. It's a matter of trampling on human rights, on a Polish minority organization which only wants to conduct its activity in peace," she said.
Andzelika Borys and Alexander Milinkevich received a standing ovation from the MEPs in Brussels.
On Monday, EU foreign ministers decided not impose sanctions against Belarus's politicians are mass arrest and harassment of the Union of Poles in February, though the position would be looked at again in April.