The European Foundation of Human Rights has proved that The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights had misinterpreted the results of research carried out by the Institute for Social Research.
In the response to the Foundation’s letter about the 2010 report, the Agency agreed with our notes. The Agency’s report stated that “in Lithuania, 42% of the questioned representatives of minorities said, that they experiencds difficulties on the job market because of little knowledge of the Lithuanian language.”
However, the Institute clearly confirmed that the interpretation presented by the Agency and politicians is not true. The Institute pointed out that results a social study cannot be interpreted as detached from the general context of a research, complexity of questions and the goal of a research. The goal of the study was a general assessment of the situation of national minorities on the job market, although most of the questioned representatives were elderly people. The Institute also agreed with the Foundation’s opinion that the respondents had finished their education before Lithuania became independent, and thus their knowledge of the language is smaller. (more information here: http://www.efhr.eu/2011/04/06/the-european-foundation-of-human-rights-proved-that-research-results-quoted-by-lithuanian-authorities-do-not-correspond-with-the-truth/?lang=en).
The Agency admitted that the word “experience” may apply to single members of minorities, and not necessarily to the general situation of those minorities. Furthermore, it assured us that it will correct its report, to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations in the future.
We would like to remind that this misunderstanding was one of the reasons why the Lithuanian Seym on 17 March 2011 adopted a new educational law, introducing additional schooling in Lithuanian language. It is surprising that the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Lithuania, Mr Audronius Ažubalis in his speech from 22 February 2011 relied on the quoted Agency’s results, and not the Institute’s results, although it was the original source. (more information here: http://www.efhr.eu/2011/03/25/european-foundation-of-human-rights-on-the-trail-of-statistics-manipulation/?lang=en).
The Foundation is exceedingly happy that after a year and a half of exchanging letters with the Agency in the newest response the Agency admitted we are right and ensured us that it will correct the 2010 report. The Foundation expects the same from Lithuanian media and authorities, which many times relied on the mistaken interpretation of the research.
European Foundation for Human Rights
Translated by Emilia Zawieracz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.