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Polish NGO Worker Ordered To Leave Belarus

Polish NGO worker Magdalena Kalinowska
MAHILEU, Belarus -- A Polish citizen working for an NGO has been ordered to leave Belarus by November 16, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Magdalena Kalinowska has been employed by the NGO Fundacją Institutum Orientalium in the eastern city of Mahileu since August, helping Belarusian entrepreneurs apply for training programs in Poland.

On November 11, the Migration Department in Mahileu summoned her and held her for almost four hours. She was told that she was found guilty of violating laws on foreigners' residence and ordered to leave Belarus by November 16.

Belarusian migration officials said Kalinowska has been living in an apartment different from the one where she was officially registered, which they called a "serious violation."

Kalinowska was told she may not return to Belarus before November 16, 2014, because of the violation.

Kalinowska told RFE/RL that she did not understand why she is being treated so harshly. She said she did not know she had to reregister at the migration center in Mahileu after moving to a new apartment.

Kalinowska said she loves Belarus and Belarusians and would be happy to work in the country again in the future. She said she has talked to the Polish consul about her situation, and it recommended she file an official complaint against the migration center's decision. But Kalinowska said there is no hope that a complaint would help her to stay.

Kalinowska said, "complicated political relations between Poland and Belarus" probably played a role in the authorities' decision to deport her.

The Fundacją Institutum Orientalium is a Polish NGO engaged in developing relations between the countries of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Asia.

Read more in Belarusian here