European Students’ Union (ESU)
Fighting for students’ rights since 1982
Rue de la Charite 22
1210 Brussels, Belgium
Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus
I. V. Karpenko
Sovetskaya street, 9
Republic of Belarus
National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
Director of the Institute of Genetics and Cytology
R. I. Sheyko
Akademicheskaya street, 27
Republic of Belarus
Concerning the Deterioration of Student Rights and Forced Resignations and Dismissals of Lecturers and Professors at the NASB
Dear Mr Karpenko,
Dear Mr Sheyko,
I am Martina Darmanin, President of the European Students’ Union (ESU), representing more than 20 million students through 45 National Union of Students from 40 different European countries.
I am writing to you to express our deepest concern for the current reports on the repression of students and academics organising to exercise their right to dissent. Apart from dozens of different reports on the constant deterioration of rights within academia, we would like to draw your attention to the report by the Belarusian Students’ Association, stating that over 9 months of the academic year, there has been evidence of more than 600 students and more than 300 academics that received some form of penalties (from arrests, fines, expulsions, scholarships and dormitory cancellations etc)1. For this reason, the European Union included 4 University leaders in the list of sanctions, due to their role in student repression2.
More specifically, we protest against criminal case investigations, prison sentencing and any form of human and academic right violations in cases against Alana Gebremariamm, Tatsiana Yakelchyk, Ksenia Syramalot, Yahor Kanetski, Hleb Fitzner, Yana Arabeika, Kasya Budzko, Maryia Kalenik, Victoryia Hrankouskaya, Illiaa Trakhtenberg, and Anastasiya Bulybenka, Akihira Gaeuski-Ganada, Marfa Rabkova, Anastasiya Dudina, Illia Bychkouski, David Zbaranski and Uladzislau Martsinovich and ask for their urgent and permanent release.
Furthermore, as reported by the Belarusian Independent Bologna Committee3,168 academics of different universities and of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB) were subjected to pressure from the Ministry of Internal Affairs or their institution, including Prof. Volha Filatchankava. In particular, we protest against the forced resignations and dismissals of members of the Belarusian Free Trade Union (SPB) at the Institute for Genetics and Cytology of the NASB: Alena Aksionava, Dr. Marina Bagdanava, Alexandra Nosava, Ksenia Pantelei, Ilona Sacharuta, Dr. Maryna Shapturenka and demand their immediate reinstatement.
We demand you to respect the fundamental rights of students and scientists at the National Academy of Sciences and in all Belarusian Higher Education Institutions which include the freedom of expression and assembly, the freedom of association and academic freedom.
Furthermore, we would like to express our solidarity with the Belarusian Free Trade Union and their primary organisation at the National Academy of Sciences. We urge you to stop obstructing their trade union work, to end the discrimination of employees on account of their union membership and to comply with international labour standards as it is called for by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In addition, we stand in solidarity with the Belarusian Students’ Association and all the students under pressure or court trial.
Belarus, as a member of the European Higher Education Area, shall respect EHEA fundamental values, including academic freedom and freedom for students to autonomously self-organise. We urge you to put an end to the political persecutions of students, academics as well as teachers and engage in a real dialogue with these key components of the higher education community.
President of the European Students´Union