Due to limited access of national minorities to international documents, the EFHR shares the Resolution of the Committee of Ministers of 28th March 2019 on the Protection of National Minorities in Polish, Lithuanian, and Russian on its website.
On 27th March 2019, based on the Advisory Committee’s Opinion, the Committee of Ministers (Council of Europe’s decision-making body) adopted Resolution CM/ResCMN(2019)4 which calls Lithuania to implement the Advisory Committee’s observations and recommendations. Among others, these include a number of immediate actions such as the adoption of the law on national minorities, conducting awareness-raising campaigns to combat stereotypes against vulnerable groups, providing legislative guarantees for the use of minority languages in the administrative context and ensuring that students from minority language schools are not discriminated.
In addition, the Committee of Ministers recommended that the State undertakes the following measures:
- Building policy-making on minorities upon 2021 population census providing the right to free and voluntary self-identification, the possibility of declaring more than one ethnic affiliation and collection of language data;
- Allocating sufficient sources for effective operations of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office, and the Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights;
- Reframing the support scheme for minority cultures, in particular by giving them access to multi-year projects and long-term baseline funding;
- Eliminating any stereotypes in political discourse and society, and sanctioning alleged discrimination and ethnically-based hostility, including hate crimes;
- Ensuring the confidentiality of information on the ethnic affiliation of alleged perpetrators unless there is a strict necessity;
- Supporting minority media;
- Strengthening the educational component about national minorities based on objective information;
- Supporting equal access of Roma children to education;
- Enhancing the role of national minorities in the decision-making through the development of consultative mechanisms.
EFHR reminds that the organization actively participates in monitoring the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. In early 2018, EFHR representatives met with the Advisory Committee to discuss current problems and progress in the country, and presented their comments that helped to make recommendations on the implementation of the Convention by Lithuania. In 2018, the shadow report presented by EFHR highlighted the shortcomings so far faced by national minorities in Lithuania: use of minority languages in public life, the original spelling of surnames, education, etc. The fundamental issues remain unchanged from 2014.
The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) welcomes the Resolution CM/ResCMN(2019)4 and is convinced about its relevance and importance. Following this document, EFHR expresses high expectations about its implementation by responsible authorities.