Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.
Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President

Belarus had to assume obligations to complete the Road Map of reforms in its higher education system at the Yerevan conference of 47 ministers for education of the European Higher Education Area. Pursuant to the Road Map the Belarusian authorities were to prepare and implement legislative measures and educational-policy measures aimed at upholding the academic staff and students rights. However, an aggravating offensive against academic freedoms and rights of the academia seems to make a sharp dissonance with such promises.

Censorship is intensifying. Recently, the edition of Vital Silitski’s book Dolgaya doroga ot tiranii: postkommunisticheskiy avtoritarism I borba za demokratiyu v Serbii i Belarusi (Long Way Out of Tyranny: Post-Communist Authoritarianism and Struggle for Democracy in Serbia and Belarus) has been destroyed following the instructions of the Ministry for Information. This sad event follows academic repressions launched in Hrodna by firing academic staff connected to production of Hrodnaznaustva (Hrodna Studies) book or who solidarized with the victims of administrative despotism from the university. This time the posthumous book of the independent researcher from Minsk fell victim to censorship. The intimidation tactics is equally aimed at the academic staff of the higher education institutions and researchers as well as against editors who have received an unequivocal signal from the authorities. The practice of forcing students to vote early at the presidential election, use of students in school time in agricultural, construction works, official political campaigns and mass events continue. In the recent days, students’ struggle against introducing payment for retaking failed examinations has become especially heated. Initiated at the Belarusian State University November 3, 2015 the students’ movement spread to other higher education institutions of Belarus. The students who collected thousands of signatures against additional payment for retaking examinations hoped for dialogue with administrations of higher education institutions and consideration of their opinion when making decisions. However, they faced ostentatious disregard of their position, arrogant ignoring of Belarus’ obligations undertaken concerning increased involvement of students in managing higher education institutions when acceding to the European Higher Education Area. Moreover, the campaign activists are persecuted, threatened with expelling or legal proceedings even. At the same time, the official student organisations, student representatives at the councils of higher education institutions and official bodies of student self-governance remain indifferent concerning the campaign as well as the fate of the campaign activists and participants. In the situation, the official student bodies have once again demonstrated their complete dependence on and submission to control by the administrations of higher education institutions as well as absolute irrelevance to the Belarusian obligations to develop student self-governance. The Independent Bolgona Committee regrets to advise of lack of progress in implementing the Road Map to reform the Belarusian higher education system as to the fundamental academic values. The Independent Bologna Committee condemn the academic repressions and infringements on the rights of students and academic staff. We appeal to the administrations of higher education institutions, the Ministry for Education in charge of implementing the Road Map to take measures for discontinuing persecution of students and for complying with the fundamental academic values. We are forced to pay attention of the Road Map implementation stakeholders – the BFUG, Advisory Committee on the Support for the Belarus Roadmap – to the violations by the Belarusian party of its obligations set forth in the Yerevan communique. We appeal to all the Road Map implementation stakeholders to support victims of academic repressions in Belarus, to urge the Belarusian authorities to abide by their obligations concerning respect for the fundamental academic values.