Lithuanian’s year in the European Court of Human Rights

Lithuanian’s year in the European Court of Human Rights

Posted on January 17, 2017
European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter “the Court”) in Strasbourg is one of the core bodies of the Council of Europe framework. The Court functions as a last option defender of human rights recognised in the European Convention of Human Rights. Every individual can address his/her case to the Court if he/she thinks that his/her human rights have been infringed, and state’s juridical mechanisms have failed to provide correction to the injustice. During its lifespan, the Court has gained significant juridical power among the European states. In other words, the states usually respect...
Restriction of personal liberty for one year and a half for 15 comments on the Internet

Restriction of personal liberty for one year and a half for 15 comments on the Internet

Posted on January 13, 2017
DELFI (T.Vinicko nuotr.) On January 5th, Kaunas Regional Court examined the penal case of R.P. on grounds of his appeal against the judgment of The District Court of Prienai Region from April 12th 2016, when R.P. was found guilty on the basis of articles 2 and 3 of paragraph 170 of The Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania – for public taunting, encouraging hatred and promotion of discrimination against a group of people of Russian nationality or a person who constitute a part of it and for promoting violence in public. In 2015, European Foundation of Human Rights (hereinafter...
Increase of the criminal liability for discrimination in the workplace

Increase of the criminal liability for discrimination in the workplace

Posted on January 10, 2017
Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson announces that the Code of Administrative Offences entering into force starting from January 1st this year replaces the Administrative Delinquency Code. In the new code the amount of the penalties for violations of the principle of equal rights for women and men and equality of opportunity has been increased. In the new code the penalty imposed on directors of legal entities, employers and other people responsible for the violation of the principle of equal rights for women and men and equality of opportunity amounts from 40 to 560 EUR and in...
EFHR fights with discrimination in electronic space

EFHR fights with discrimination in electronic space

Posted on January 02, 2017
For several years the European Fundation of Human Rights (EFHR), together with the Office of the Equal Opportunities, has struggled with discriminatory job offers that appear on the Internet and in the press. Art. 11 of the Law on Equal Treatment stipulates that job advertisements as well as state service and learning offers cannot include requirements that refer to dicrimination on the grounds of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, religion, beliefs and opinions, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. According to Art. 11 of the Law on Equal...
Courts continue to settle the issue of the spelling of the names – two won cases

Courts continue to settle the issue of the spelling of the names – two won cases

Posted on December 27, 2016
DELFI (T.Vinicko nuotr.) On November 22nd, The Vilnius City District Court adopted a decision concerning the complaint of a Lithuanian citizen. The court obliged the Registry Office in Vilnius to spell her daughter’s name using the letter “w” and to issue a new birth certificate. The court acknowledged that the family lives currently in Dubai. While registering the child’s birth,  the Registry Office spelled the name “Darbovli” and refused to use original spelling. In this case, the refusal to register the original name and to issue a new birth certificate with the name...
The Court determined: the diverse spelling of surnames causes inconveniences

The Court determined: the diverse spelling of surnames causes inconveniences

Posted on November 07, 2016
On 7 November 2016, the District Court of Vilnius City passed the judgement in the case of ‘Wardyn’. The Court obliged the Civil Registry Office to issue a new Marriage Certificate entering ‘w’ into the surname of the Lithuanian of Polish nationality, who has got married with the citizen of Poland. While the passing the judgement, the Court considered the explanations of the European Court of Human Rights and assessed the actual circumstances. The Court stated that ‘The applicants are of the Polish nationality, clearly identify themselves with the Polish nationality, has obtained...
The court has decided - the government is not a socially vulnerable group

The court has decided – the government is not a socially vulnerable group

Posted on November 04, 2016
On 4 November 2016, after examining the criminal case, the district court of Kaunas city acquitted Viktorija K. and Linas K. of the charges which state that on the 16 February 2015 (on the Lithuanian Independence day), in public spaces in Kaunas, together with two other persons they were putting up posters with the writing ‘’Sudegink Ruklą, deportuok vyriausybę, imigrantai welcome’’ (translation: ‘’Burn Rukla (The Refugees Reception Centre in Lithuania), deport the government, welcome the refugees’’), i.e. the charges were pressed due to the public incitement of people to...
Another case concerning hate speech won

Another case concerning hate speech won

Posted on October 25, 2016
Another case of comments inciting hatred has been won – on October 17th 2016, The District Court of Keidainai Region have found M.J. guilty of posting the comments encouraging aggression and physical violence against Muslims – he was openly mocking, humiliating and spreading hade speech against this particular minority. European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) in an application sent to the Prosecutor’s Office stresses that on July 18th and 19th 2016, M.J. under the pseudonym “ABONETAS”, had written two comments under the article entitled “The truth has come to light: the...
The fight for original spelling of names and surnames does not stop – how much additional judgments shall be passed until the adoption of appropriate law?

The fight for original spelling of names and surnames does not stop – how much additional judgments shall be passed until the adoption of appropriate law?

Posted on October 20, 2016
European Foundation of Human Rights’ already in July 2016 noticed that there were won eight cases related to entry of the letters ‘w’ and ‘x’ into the documents issued for the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania. This time, two other courts passed particularly significant judgements in the fight for protection of the right of respect for private life and free movement of persons. On 12 October 2016, the The District Court of Varėna Region passed the judgement in the case of ‘Bobrowski’ obliging the Civil Registry Office of Varena Region to entry the surname of the citizen of...
Courts' challange to the newly elected Seimas – 'x' and 'w'

Courts’ challange to the newly elected Seimas – ‘x’ and ‘w’

Posted on October 11, 2016
On 10 October 2016, the Vilnius Courts posed challenge to the newly elected Seimas repeatedly acknowledging the right to privacy, free movement of persons and original spelling of names and surnames. Upon the hearing the case of the great-great grandson of Adam Mickiewicz, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court decided to annul the decision of the Migration Board to refuse the issuing the passport for the minor Alexia Gorecki-Mickiewicz and obliged to issue a new one following the original spelling of her name and surname. Alexia has been already living in Lithuania for eleven years and...
EFHR victory in the fight against hate speech

EFHR victory in the fight against hate speech

Posted on July 11, 2016
On May 19, 2016, the District Court in Panevezys adjudicated in a criminal case in which Lithuanian citizen V. S. was found guilty of incitement to hatred on the website lrytas.lt. Currently, the convicted man is unemployed, divorced, has secondary education and lives in Panevezys. V. S. was indicted for writing seven comments inciting to hatred and physical violence. The District Court in Panevezys decided that the comments posted on the website by V. S. publicly humiliate and defame individuals of Russian origin, incite to hatred and discrimination against Russians, by describing them as...
Court’s decision: “w” is to be written in the Lithuanian’s passport

Court’s decision: “w” is to be written in the Lithuanian’s passport

Posted on July 04, 2016
On 4th July 2016 the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court adopted the definitive ruling regarding the original spelling of first and last names. The court obliged the Migration Board to write the letter “w” in the citizen’s of the Republic of Lithuania (RL) passport. The court stated, “The decision of the Migration Board in which it refused to accept the official request for the issuance (change) of the ID card in the “Pauwels” name is unlawful and unjustified, as, pursuant to the new marriage certificate that has been issued, the petitioner’s surname has been changed from...
One More Victory Regarding Original Spelling of First and Last Names

One More Victory Regarding Original Spelling of First and Last Names

Posted on July 01, 2016
On 1st July the Vilnius City District Court adopted a ruling in which it obliged the Registry Office to issue a new marriage certificate with the surname “Weston” written with the original “w” for a Lithuanian woman who married a citizen of New Zealand. It is the fifth won court case already concerning the written form of the letter “w” in the surname in which the Vilnius City District Court adopts the consistent approach, highlighting that the refusal of writing the letter “w” would cause administrative, personal, and professional nuisances to the petitioner, forcing her to...
Another win. Courts agree — ”w” has the right to exist

Another win. Courts agree — ”w” has the right to exist

Posted on June 22, 2016
On 22nd June 2016 Vilnius City District Court issued a ruling which obliges the Registry Office to change the spelling of surname of Lithuanian resident with Polish nationality to its original form — from ”Vardyn” to ”Wardyn” — and issue a new birth certificate. This is the second case won by the Wardyn family — 12 April 2016 Vilnius City District Court obliged the Registery Office to write ”w” in the surname of the first Wardyn family child — son Michał. More about son’s win here. The Court decided that ”current legal regulations do not allow to sufficiently meet...
"W" does not pose a threat to the Lithuanian language

“W” does not pose a threat to the Lithuanian language

Posted on April 14, 2016
The District Court of Vilnius has delivered a landmark ruling regarding the spelling of last names. For the first time the Court has bound the Vilnius registry office to include the letter ‘w’ in the civil status records of a child. At the same time there is a third judgement confirming that the rights of an individual need to be respected in Lithuania. More about the ruling adopted last year on the family name Pauwels can be found here. On 12 April the Vilnius City District Court issued a ruling in the Wardyn case. The family concerned has been fighting in the courts for the...
Forced surname change at 11 years of age

Forced surname change at 11 years of age

Posted on March 24, 2016
On the June 2004 a child was born into a family in Lithuania. This child was given the original surname of his father – which includes the letter q. The original surname of the child did not cause any problems when issuing the birth certificate and the passport of the Republic of Lithuania in 2004. For 11 years the child was raised in Lithuania and identified by his original surname (with a letter q) at school, on school certificates,  at the bank when a bank card was issued, in health care institutions and in his private life, as well as among his friends and family. In 2014, following...
Another EFHR success in fighting hate speech

Another EFHR success in fighting hate speech

Posted on February 01, 2016
The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) has achieved another success in the area of fighting hate speech on the internet. The District Court of Kaunas (Kauno miesto apylinkės teismas) has issued a criminal warrant for P.V. for publically instigating violence and encouraging physical assault based on racism. The intended victims were of Russian nationality. On the 17th July 2015, on the www.15min.lt website, beneath an article titled “Russia expanded its borders 2km into Georgia’s territory within one night”, P.V., under the pseudonym “Igor”, published (in Lithuanian) the...
Ongoing Human Rights Battle – “x” and “w” have the right to exist

Ongoing Human Rights Battle – “x” and “w” have the right to exist

Posted on October 22, 2015
The European Foundation of Human Rights brought another action before the Vilnius City Administrative Court concerning the right to privacy protection and respect for family life. The famous poet Adam Mickiewicz’s great-great-grandson, Roman Gorecki-Mickiewicz, asked EFHR for legal assistance in order to protect the rights of his daughter. The client’s daughter was born in Lithuania and issued a birth certificate, along with French and Lithuanian passports. In each of those documents her name was written in its original form – i.e. with “x” and “w” letters. The Lithuanian...
EFHR wins landmark court case: Vilnius City District Court allows a surname to be spelled with "W"

EFHR wins landmark court case: Vilnius City District Court allows a surname to be spelled with “W”

Posted on July 30, 2015
The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) welcomes the landmark ruling of Vilnius City District Court which has changed Lithuania’s stance regarding the spelling of names and surnames in their original form. The Court has allowed a Lithuanian citizen’s surname to be spelled with the letter “w”. EFHR held a press conference at the Court at 2pm on the 30 July with BNS Press Agency. EFHR has, for a number of years, been stressing that the right to spell one’s name in its original form is a fundamental human right. It is a right that stems from the right to...
EFHR can help with contesting results of the Matura exam in Lithuanian

EFHR can help with contesting results of the Matura exam in Lithuanian

Posted on July 03, 2015
On Thursday 2nd July, the National Education Centre released this year’s results of the Lithuanian Matura exam. EFHR has analysed the Lithuanian exam results of secondary-school graduates from the years 2008-2013 from both Lithuanian schools and those of the national minorities. From the data of the National Education Centre, it follows that in the above-mentioned period of time, there was an increase in graduates who did not pass the exam. Nevertheless, one must consider the fact that this year’s results are better than those from last year. The number of pupils that did not...
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