Poland asks U.N. Security Council to discuss treatment of Poles in Belarus

·1 min read
Czech President Zeman meets with his Polish counterpart Duda

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish President Andrzej Duda has asked the United Nations Security Council to discuss the human rights and treatment of Poles in neighbouring Belarus, state news agency PAP reported on Friday.

The appeal came in a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden. The United States chairs the Security Council this month.

"The president urges the raising of the issue of democracy in Belarus, human rights, civil rights, but he emphasizes that the Polish minority has become an innocent victim of persecution in Belarus," Duda's senior aide Krzysztof Szczerski was quoted as saying by PAP.

"Today, Poles in Belarus are particularly severely treated by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko," he said.

Lukashenko, 66, Belarus' ruler for 27 years, has faced mass protests since he was declared winner of a presidential election last August which the opposition says was rigged.

He has denied electoral fraud and police have cracked down on the protests, which attracted hundreds of thousands of people before giving way to smaller marches.

Poland, which borders Belarus, on Wednesday accused Belarus of persecuting its Polish minority after the head of a group representing the Polish diaspora had been arrested.

(Reporting by Alicja Ptak; Editing by Angus MacSwan)