VILNIUS – Lithuania's Foreign Ministry on Friday protested against the suspension of operation of a Lithuanian school in Belarus.
The ministry says it has sent an official diplomatic note to the Belarusian Embassy in Vilnius, expressing "protest against the actions of the Belarusian institutions, aimed at closing the Pelesa secondary school funded by the State of Lithuania."
"These actions are a continuation of the Belarusian government's intention to eliminate Lithuanian-language education in Belarus and violate bilateral agreements between Lithuania and Belarus and international conventions that establish the right of representatives of national minorities to learn in their mother tongue," the Foreign Ministry said.
Inspectors from the Belarusian Fire Supervision Service visited the Pelesa secondary school and suspended its activities after allegedly detecting potential violations.
"We have been notified that inspectors of the Fire Supervision Service came yesterday and recorded potential violations at the Pelesa secondary school. It was proposed to suspend the school’s activities until the elimination of the deficiencies registered. We’d like to point out that no such deficiencies were found during previous such checks," Lithuania's Ministry of Education, Science and Sport reported on Friday.
Among other things, Belarus has adopted amendments to its Education Code to ensure that it will no longer provide Lithuanian-language education in Lithuanian schools in Pelesa and Rimdziuny.
Up until now, four national minority schools, including two Lithuanian and two Polish ones, have operated in Belarus.
Lithuania funded the construction of the secondary school in Pelesa, operating since 1992, and it's fully funded by Lithuania. Lithuania promises to continue to fund the institution.