2015-06-04-09.46.28The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is very glad to inform readers that another cycle of workshops, conducted in Polish and Lithuanian schools from 22nd May to 3rd June this year, was a huge success. In total, 170 students and teachers took part in our initiative.

We started the workshops by indicating what freedom of speech is. The students jointly created a definition of that term. Here is one of them: “For me, freedom of speech is the possibility of publicly speaking up, expressing your opinions and beliefs. Limitations are the result of, for instance, good manners”. The students unanimously admitted that the Internet is a public space and that is why we should pay attention to the words we use when expressing our opinions.

During the workshop segment, students were divided into groups representing legal courts. Each group received court records including: an instance of an offensive comment and the profile of the commentator (for example information on whether the commentator already has a criminal record). Based on that information, every court had to hand down a sentence for the particular case and properly justify its stance. What caused the most controversy was a comment calling on national hate for which the commentator received a 3900 Lt fine.

The participants of the training courses unanimously reached the conclusion that winning cases regarding “offensive comments” is proof that not only serious crimes on the Internet – like hacking the websites of important government institutions of the USA – are defined as serious crimes. Publishing offensive comments on the Internet also results in the risk of receiving a heavy fine. This is proved by cases won by EFHR. Throughout the whole period of EFHR’s activity, the Foundation has won as many as 40 cases on incitement to discrimination on the Internet.

Apart from that, we informed the students about our current and future projects. The majority of questions were about the Erasmus+ programme and the possibilities of participating in short and long-term voluntary services abroad, which we explained with a presentation from our EVS volunteers. You can find more on the possibility of going abroad in our announcements and on the EVS leaflet.

Happy holidays! See you in the new school year!

Adam Mickiewicz Gymnasium in Vilnius 46
High School in Lazdynai 38
J. Kraszewski High School 20
Elementary shool in Lipówka 16
Szymon Konarski High School 18
W. Syrokomla High School 10
Grand Prince Algirdas Gymnasium in Maišiagala 22