“For 22 years we have been building the state, enhancing the democratic values and raising respect for humanity. We are building a state in which we can enjoy freedom and which we can be proud of. Patriotism that emerges from it does not divide, degrade or humiliate people. Civic activity unites different people who enjoy free Lithuania, and motivates them to act together.”
Conference on “Minority representation and minority language rights: Origins, experiences and lessons to be learned”
October 11-14, 2012
Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár, Klausenburg), Romania
The Department of Juridical Sciences and European Studies of the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, the European Studies Department of the University of Amsterdam and the ECPR Standing Group on Federalism and Regionalism will organize on October 11-14, 2012 a conference on minority representation and minority language rights.
The Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC) is the key piece of EU legislation for combating discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin and for giving effect to the principle of equal treatment.
The directive, adopted a decade ago, has brought about the introduction of new or the strengthening of existing legal frameworks. Although significant progress has been made towards the realisation of racial and ethnic equality, several challenges remain to be overcome. The present report discusses the application of the Racial Equality Directive through the laws and practices in the 27 EU Member States.
The case of the letter of the Minister of Education and Science Gintaras Steponavičius to minority students, which was opened in September 2011, is still not finally closed. On the 27th of February (Monday) the Vilnius Regional Court issued a decision on this matter.
As we have informed before, a high school student Daniel Cz. was beaten up in Vilnius for nationality reasons as the witnesses of the incident and the boy’s parents believe. The Polish television channel TVN made a program about what happened, but unfortunately Lithuania has ignored the problem completely.
The European Foundation of Human Rights is pleased to announce that thanks to the kindness of LanguageCourse Company you can now receive free codes for Internet language courses. With the “Super Learning Vocabulary Trainer” programme you have a chance to master vocabulary of over 9 foreign languages, such as German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian or English, all free of charge.
The EFHR would like to announce that Humana People to People Baltic encourages you to apply for grants for an interesting social project “Feet me better” 2012 – 2014.
The project aims at improving the quality of food consumed by children, especially those of less wealthy families, by teaching them how to eat healthy, cook and prepare their own meals.
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.
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%).