Union of Poles in Belarus leader resigns

The leader of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Andzelika Borys (right) has resigned, says a member of the organisation's supreme council.

The news of the resignation came as a surprise to the union's membership, who were called to a meeting at the weekend in Grodno, western Belarus, on the pretext of "important organisational issues" says member of the union's supreme council, Andrzej Poczobut

"The president explained [to the membership] her decision was taken for important personal reasons," Poczobut told Polish Radio.

The supreme council will convene on Saturday to decide on a way forward.

The Union of Poles in Belarus has been in conflict with authoritarian Belarusian president, Aleksander Lukashenko's regime, which regards the organisation as subversive and a vehicle for foreign agitation in the ex-Soviet nation, which borders Poland.

The Union of Belarus has complained of state harassment of what is an independent origanisation and the European Union formally protested in February the detention and one million rubles (270 euro) fine of Andzelika Borys, after authorities broke up a protest by the union following confiscation of their property.

The Union of Poles in Belarus has a membership of around 20,000 and claims to represent the 400,000 strong Polish minority. President Lukashenko refuses to recognise the organisation, however, and set up a rival, pro-government group in 2005, which, in turn, Warsaw refuses to acknowledge. (pg)


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