Running away from inconvenient facts

On numerous occasions we at EFHR have informed readers about the petition submitted by Mr Tomasz Snarski on the 31st of March 2011, titled “Language rights of Poles in Lithuania”. The petition regarded the main problems on the subject of language rights of the Polish minority – that is, the spelling of names and forenames, labelling settlements or streets in…

What happens next with proper names?

In the media, Lithuanian politicians increasingly express their opinions concerning the original spelling of names and surnames. Remigijus Šimašius, former Minister of Justice, voices his opinion in an article entitled “We lost our way between Warsaw and Vilnius”, which he has recently posted on his blog (http://www.simasius.lt/). The politician perceives the existing situation as unjust,…

The Foundation organized the meeting to discuss changing the spelling of surnames.

It is widely known that the Lithuanian law – which regulates the issue of name/surname spelling in official documents, as well as any spelling changes – is very complicated. The petitioner’s claims are limited by a number of conditions that have to be fulfilled. This is why the procedures connected with changing the spelling of…

Nobody will be punished for writing “hairdresser” or “shop”

fryzjer_nadpisNow, nobody can be afraid of being punished for writing anything in Polish, Belorussian or Russian. The aim of writing in other languages is to improve the quality of services for tourists and to encourage more tourism to Lithuania. The adoption of the new legislation allows traders to advertise their business in any language they choose. Next to advertisements in the official language it is now possible to include different information or vocal recordings about the business in a foreign language without the fear of being fined. So far the regulations prohibited these types of advertisements and this was, according to the Foundation, illegal and breaking the rules of economic freedom.

More contradictions in law on cases of original names and surnames spelling

EFHR has received another official statement of statistical data about non-Lithuanian surnames registered in Lithuania from the Bureau of Population Records (Gyventojų registro tarnyba prie VRM). What the statistics seem to prove is just as surprising as the previous statement (more information is available here: http://en.efhr.eu/2012/12/28/w-lawful-in-lithuania-after-all/). According to the official statement, it is possible to register names…

EFHR is not the victim – “Saw for the Poles” case continued

facebookSome time ago, the European Foundation of Human Rights came across an outrageous group on social networking site Facebook called “Saw for the Poles”, which aimed to share all sorts of offensive content regarding Polish people. Their motto was “Shiv a pole while he’s young!” EFHR submitted a claim about the group and following that, the Regional Prosecution Office of Lithuania announced that they had started an official investigation into the matter, led by the Vilnius Constabulary.

Why does the number of requests concerning change of surname fall?

On 22 January, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania announced on their website that during the years 2010 and 2012 the number of requests for name and/or surname changes fell. The ministry perceives this to be as a result of the simplification of procedures for some kinds of justifications provided for alteration. Some…

Another Human Rights Report Critical Towards Lithuania

midrfOn 6 December of this year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation published an unprecedented document – a report on obeying human rights legislation in the European Union. Russia is not usually associated with obeying these rights – in fact, the largest number of complaints filed to the European Court of Human Rights come from Russia. Furthermore, Russia has the highest number of ECtHR lost cases. Nevertheless, the Russian Ministry of the Interior decided to scrutinize the situation of human rights in particular member states of the European Union.

EFHR brings Christmas presents to the Orphanage in Podbrodzie

Last Thursday, a team of people was sent by the European Foundation for Human Rights to deliver Christmas gifts to the wards of the Orphanage in Podbrodzie. The headmaster was also given educational materials related with human rights, designed for the youngest pupils as well as for the teenagers, with a special focus on the…

“W” lawful in Lithuania after all

The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) has once again detected the hypocrisy of contradictory legal acts and practices which concern the original spelling of names and surnames in official documents. Today dozens, if not thousands of Lithuanian citizens struggle with the problem of name spelling.  According to the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language,…

How to change your name—step-by-step instruction

A person who would like to exercise his/her right to change a name should file an application to the local Civil Registry Office (Civilinės metrikacijos skyrius). The complete list of the Offices can be found at: https://mepis.vrm.lt/web/mepis/kontaktai.

A written application for a name change can also be submitted via the internet, through the MEPIS system (https://mepis.vrm.lt).

The following documents should be attached to the filled in application form (www.efhr.eu/application):

Bartłomiej Śliwa – intern EFHR

The European Foundation for Human Rights (EFHR) is pleased to welcome a new volunteer Bartłomiej Śliwa, a graduate in sociology and comparative study of civilizations at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and a participant of education projects in the field of human rights protection and measures against racism and xenophobia organized by the Foundation Humanity in Action Poland and Interkulturalni.pl Association.

Mr Śliwa started to cooperate with EFHR in March 2012.

4th Summer Academy: Democracy at School – Call for participants!

4th Summer Academy: Democracy at School
Residential seminar: 6-14 July 2013, Sulejówek/Warsaw, Poland
Deadline to apply: 18 January 2013


A short overview – What is the Summer Academy: Democracy at School?

The EWC is calling for participants for the 4th Summer Academy: Democracy at School, which will take place 6-14 July 2013 in Poland. The Summer Academy offers a regional training to education professionals and local community actors from Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region.

European Foundation of Human Rights participating in training in Strasbourg

UNITED – international initiative unity over 550 organisations. The UNITED representatives have recently organised a training course titled „Step in! Be Active Against Racist, Propaganda and Hate Speech Online”. The project aimed to teach youth activists how to recognise and fight discrimination and violence in the cyberspace.

The representative of the European Foundation of Human Rights, Krzysztof Adam Górski said that “The training provided a load of experiences and pleasantly spent time amongst new acquaintances.

The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) on international conference in Latvia.

On the occasion of the Human Rights Day and the 20th anniversary of the creation of Latvian Committee of Human Rights in Riga (LHRC) the conference entitled “The rights of citizens in baltic countries. The experience of the protection at international level.” was organized. LHRC has asked EFHR to present the situation of national minorities’ rights in Lithuania and to get the participants acquainted with its activity and finally, to share with them the experience in the field of protection of the minorities’ rights before the European Court of Human Rights and with a help of institutions of European Union. 

The case of Polish minority in Lithuania is being discussed, the European Commission’s position has a consultative character for the European Parliament

Recently the Lithuanian media have published a number of articles according to which the investigation of my petition by institutions of the European Union has already been closed. Moreover, the articles inform that the European Commission claims the issues described in the petition are within the competence of the member countries. 

The aforementioned information omits a few significant facts and consequently misleads the public opinion.

The Ministry of Culture announces a contest – “For Ethnic Tolerance”

The Ministry of Culture continues the tradition initiated in 2007 which is about rewarding people who contributed the most to the promotion of ethnic tolerance in mass media. The aim of the contest is to instil tolerance towards national minorities as well as sensitivity to racial and national discrimination in the members of the community.

The struggle for surname spelling continues.

The public signs in Lithuania should be written in the country’s official language (according to article 17 of the state language Act); however, to excise stamps on the goods subjected to excise duty (such as cigarettes and alcohol), car licence plates and proper names of companies this Act does not apply. That is how Vilnius…