The Minorities Fellowship Programme (MFP) was incorporated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2005. The MFP is held annually and currently has two linguistic versions: The English language programme has been running since 2005 and the Arabic language programme started in 2007. The Arabic language component began as a two-week pilot and gradually expanded to five weeks in 2011. The duration of the programmes varied until 2011, when both programmes were decided to last 5 weeks and coincide with the session of the Forum on Minority Issues.
The Ministry of Culture, responsible for all issues of the national minorities in Lithuania, expressed its doubts regarding the managerial decision of “Lietuvos geležinkeliai” to reduce the remuneration of the employees who were not using the state language when exercising their duties. The Ministry does not question the internal order of the company, only two cases of partly reducing a welder’s and another technical worker’s remuneration for not using the Lithuanian language.
Another opportunity for a study trip! This time it is a meeting in Budapest on the topic of minorities in Europe and protection of their rights.
* Knowledge of English
* Experience related to the topic of the meeting
* Age 20-30 years old
We invite all our trainees to apply to join this year’s International Youth Meeting of which details can be found below. Unfortunately, the closing date is the 10th of February 2012. The European Foundation of Human Rights will pay the fare for the cheapest means of transport offered by the organiser, on behalf of the chosen participant. Between 70% and 100% of the fare will be funded.
A petition of the European Foundation of Human Rights, reference number 1008/2011, against gathering and processing of data revealing ethnic origin by the Republic of Lithuania, as well as issues raised in it were considered admissible according to the Rules of the European Parliament. That is why the Commission of Petitions initiated its consideration. Below, you can find the text of the above mentioned petition and the response of the chairman of the Commission of Petitions. We are waiting for further information from Brussels.
In February and March, in Vilnius, there will be marches against violation of human rights organised. On Tuesday, February 7th, in the Lithuanian Parliament Sejmas, the deaf and hard of hearing will be protesting against discrimination in access to information. They claim that the authorities violate the 21st Article of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Disabled, which concerns freedom of opinion and expression, as well as access to information.
Swastika – a symbol of criminals and Nazis? Not at all, but anyone who feels the strength of this symbol wants to appropriate it (…) Hitler was not an exception. (…) The Lithuanian cemeteries on which there have been swastikas found date back to the 13th century. This is why we can say it to the whole world with all certainty that it is a symbol of our ancestors, Lithuanians, it is our history and our memory. And the fact that it has been used for criminal purposes, does not change anything. One can steal something and commit any criminal offence using the stolen object. Only those who have committed an offence will look for the guilty, no one but them,” reads one of the statements that can be found on the website of the Sarmatia group (http://www.sarmatas.lt/02/svastika-musu-proteviu-lietuviu-simbolis/).
The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR), which protects human rights in Lithuania, started monitoring the internet a few months ago. The Foundation pays special attention to the commentaries violating the law. As a result, the Prosecution General of the Republic of Lithuania receives motions calling for conducting evidential investigations. EFHR has put forward 28 motions, all of them received replies.
According to the information from radio „Znad Willii”, last friday 16-year old Daniel Cz., student of Gimnazjum (Junior High School) im. Jana Pawła II in Vilnius became a victim of violence near the House of Polish Culture (Dom Kultury Polskiej). Most probably, the reason for the incident was the nationality of the victim. Perpetrators (3 persons of the age around 30-40 years old – Wilnoteka.lt) were provoked by the fact that teenagers were speaking Polish between each other. The tipsy men attacked the whole group, out of which Daniel suffered the most.
On 18 January, 2012 Mr. Waldemar Tomaszeski – the Member of Parliament – intervened in a case for the violation of human rights at Lithuanian railways („Lietuvos Geležinkeliai”). In documents directed to the Minister of Culture of the RL and to the Minister of Transportation and Communication of the RL, MP referred to the intervention of European Foundation of Human Rights regarding the imposed sanctions by Lithuanian railways on its employees for not using the national language during conducting duties at work. According to MP, such action of the company discriminates and violates the Constitution
The case of the 11 fined employees of „Lietuvos Geležinkeliai“ PLC has caused a stir in the Polish and Lithuanian media
The case came to light in August 2011 when European Foundation of Human Rights got interested in a regulation introduced by the Management of the company which introduced fines for those who did not use Lithuanian in their workplace. The Foundation enquired the company about the implementation of the regulation.
The European Foundation of Human Rights is pleased to adopt the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to communicate Lithuania the issues connected to the renewed renationalisation of the returned property in Vilnius.
EFHR is of the opinion that the practice of Lithuania violates Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
On 11/28/2011 Polish Television in the “The Sight” programreleased a report “A dispute over the Polish education in Lithuania is stepping up. Do students of Polish Diaspora will soon lose the right to study most subjects in their native language?”. There was a fragment of the interview that an editor Ewa Szakalicka conducted with representatives of the European Foundation of Human Rights.
EFHR took notice seriously of the survey published in the issue of “IQ” on January. This survey explicitly presents that the negative campaign which was undertaken by the media and politicians towards national minorities influenced Lithuanian society.
Lithuanians do not want to live very much in the neighborhood of Romani people (87%), Poles (51%) and Jews (45%).
European Foundation of Human Rights wanted to express appreciation to Ewelina Saszenko. that as a minority representative on 12/31/2011 at Lietuvos ir Televizija Radijo she gave New Year’s wishes in their native language. Thus confirmed that the minorities in Lithuania can and should be themselves and should be proud of it. This kind of attitude allows us to understand and sometimes even find out that we live in a multicultural environment and thereby to combat the prevailing minorities stereotypes in Lithuania.