Belarusian civil servants banned from having Pole’s Card

Civil service law amendments entered into force on February 11, 2012. The law prohibits civil servants from accepting any privileges, as well as documents granting such benefits, from foreign states based on persons’ political views, religious or national background.

Now a Card’s holder working in a public administration is obliged to surrender the document to their personnel department within one month after the amendments have come into force.

Belarusian deputies asked the Supreme Court to verify if the Pole’s Card (Karta Polaka), a document given to Poles who live in countries of former Soviet Union, is constitutional, on February, 23, 2011. Belarusian parliamentarians stated that the Card might excite conflicts among minorities in Belarus.

“We were forced to pay attention to the Polish Card by numerous complaints from citizens and NGO’s, who described it as an instrument used to divide Poles and interfere into affairs of a sovereign state.” – commented Ihar Karpienka, chairman of parliamentary Committee for International Relations and Communication with the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).

According to deputies who brought up that issue, the Polish law that created the Pole’s Card violates the Belarusian Constitution, which guarantees equality of all national minorities. The speaker of the Belarusian Parliament, Uladzimir Andreychanka stressed back than that the Card “is a part of anti-Belarusian campaign in Poland”.

After Belarusian MPs requested the Polish Card’s legality to be reviewed, the Constitutional Court issued opinion that some parts of the Polish law violate international norms. On April, 7, 2011 the Court stated that the Pole’s Card violates the rule of non-interference into another state’s affairs and the agreement on terms of consular relations.

Created in 2007, the Pole’s Card is issued for a ten-year period to former Polish citizens and those who have relatives of Polish descent, even in the fourth generation. Then the validity period can be extended. The Card gives extensive privileges to the holder, such as a free multi-entry visa, 37-percent discount on rail travel in Poland, work permit, public education and health care in Poland, etc. A prospective Card’s holder should possess a basic knowledge of the Polish language.


See also