Germany: Solidarity actions of GEW with scientists and students in Belarus


In July 2021, six lecturers and researchers from the Institute of Genetics and Cytology at the Minsk National Academy of Sciences (NASB) were forced to resign or dismissed.

Following the statements of ETUCE and Education International in reaffirmation of their irrevocable stand with citizens of Belarus standing up for their legitimate rights and freedoms and in defence of democratic processes and full respect for fundamental rights and freedoms in Belarus, GEW has launched solidarity actions to demonstrate its firm support with teachers, academics, and students in Belarus and to protest against unjustified dismissals at the Minsk National Academy of Sciences (NASB).

In light of the deteriorating situation in Belarus and an increasing number of repressions, intimidation, and persecution the German member organisation called on the higher education institution to reinstate the respective scientists with immediate effect.

“We are worried about the dismissals of employees at the NASB simply because they use their legitimate and fundamental rights and freedoms of expression and association. Earlier, three employees of the Institute of Genetics and Cytology who had taken part in protests after 9 August 2020 were dismissed”, stated GEW and affirmed its solidarity with the Belarussian Free Trade Union (SPB).

“The violation of trade union rights in Belarus must stop. As GEW, we stand in solidarity with SPB”, said Maike Finnern, President of the GEW.

“In Belarus, students and academics are expelled from the universities and persecuted because they stand up for democracy, academic freedom and trade union rights. We are deeply impressed by their courage and commitment,” declared Marlis Tepe, Vice-President of the European Region to Education International.

Further to this, in the ongoing brutal series of repression in the education sector, on 16 July 2021 eleven student representatives from the Belarussian Students Association and a lecturer were sentenced to up to two and a half years imprisonment for demanding democracy in their country. The GEW student structure together with the German Federal Students Union - Free federation of student unions (FZS) had called for the release of the students.

Condemning the continuous and escalating violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, the freedom of expression and assembly, the freedom of association and collective bargaining along with the core value of academic freedom and professional autonomy in Belarus, Susan Flocken, European Director of ETUCE said: “A democratic society is a society founded on the pillars of the rule of law. Democracy implies the right of each and every citizen of a country to freely express their belief. We stand together with young people and professionals of Belarussian education institutions and their unions who actively engage for their legitimate rights and freedoms and for the future of the Belarussian country as a whole.

Please find more information on GEW’s action here (in German)