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Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent tax returns to Belarus

According to press reports, in March 2012 the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent about 30 income tax returns to Belarusian opposition activists. The documents, mailed to Belarus, disclosed income from per diems paid during a conference in Warsaw.

The reports were commented by Danuta Przywara, President of the HFHR:

“When we hear about such situations I feel helpless as all the things I have said before sound like the proverbial voice in the wilderness. Every couple of months, I stand before a microphone or a camera and repeat the same message: any information for an oppositionist or a human rights activist from an authoritarian country that relates in any way to his or her connections with a democratic state may be dangerous; I also constantly remind everybody that the Polish standards simply cannot be applied to the Belarusian reality.

Mailing letters which bear seal of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to private individuals, letters containing information on any, even slightest, financial income obtained by such individuals, is nothing less than pointing a finger at them right in front of the eyes of Belarusian secret police. This, in consequence, puts the addressees of such letters at a great risk.

Obviously, it’s impossible to draft a complete list of such dangerous letters. What we can do, though, is at least make a list of states to which an official mail can be posted only after being approved by two separate authorising bodies.

I start feeling helpless, I really do. How many times can you be outraged, anxious and call for a change? What are the odds that this outrage, anxiety and calls will be heard by those who should hear it? The shame of it all.”

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