The European Foundation of Human Rights discovered on the Social Network Facebook a group titled “Saw on Poles”, which motto was“Whack Pole ‘till he’s young!”. The group was consisted of 23 members, who were posting comments, statements, open calls for hatred as well. Moreover there were put few pictures insulting for polish nation.

The European Foundation of Human Rights monitored the site and referred an application to the Prosecutor General’s Office Of The Republic Of Lithuania on request to burden the group members with legal responsibility for inspiring to hatred towards national minorities according to article 170. of Criminal Code of theRepublicofLithuania. Prosecution’s Office ordered an explaining proceeding to be conducted by the Vilnius County Police Headquarters (Vilniaus Apskrities Vyriausiasis Policijos Komisariatas).

The Vilnius County Police Headquarters refused to launch investigation because of lack of sufficient basis. The most surprising for us, as the European Human Rights Foundation, were “the arguments”, stated as an explanation of refusal of launching investigation. The Vilnius Headquarters justified its decision in this way:

  • Group members did not know that the character of the group was open; and every single user of the Network is able to join it,  or even view the  content without signing in;
  • Administrator has no knowledge about the function he carries out;
  • Group members had no intention to insult or simply instilling hatred to Polish people
  • No one among the group member even thought to offend or hurt someone trough playing such “games”;
  • According to the group members minds, there is a lots of rubbish all around about Poles in Lithuania, in the Lithuanian media, with or without “Saw on Poles”, because of the struggles  of their rights Polish people  keep.

Despite the refusal from Lithuanian police authorities, as a success of activities of the European Rights Foundation might be perceived the fact of closure of the Facebook Group “Saw on Poles”.

Claim to the Prosecution Office against the Facebook group “Saw on Poles” is the one of few dozens of applications, submitted by the European Human Rights Foundation to the Prosecution Office in the frames of conducted since few month campaign attempting to cut sense of impunity those, who without any inhibition or opposition abuse dignity of other people, including calls for depriving lives of others.

Through sending claims to police offices on illegal comments, the Foundation would like to lead the situation, where state authorities responsible for the obeying of the law would recognize how serious and danger as well as the related to this problem we face. The State must not stay passive anymore towards arising escalation of hostility, which size appears to be a precedent. The consequences of negative campaign against national minorities led by media and politicians, might be seen through observation, among others, polls. According to this we may conclude, that the campaign spread now into Lithuanian society.

The European Human Rights Foundation’s campaign against arising escalation of hatred in the Internet in Lithuania started to produce first remarkable effects as judicial sentences (http://www.efhr.eu/2012/03/15/first-penalty-for-comments/?lang=en).

We encourage everyone to report us about illegal articles, comments and websites. Thank you in advance for all provided help.

Tłumaczenie Ewelina Targosz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Ewelina Targosz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu