Absurd argumentation of State Inspectorate of Language does not surprise anymore

“The present Lithuanian system of spelling foreign names and surnames according to how they sound is anachronistic and idiotic,” claims Egidijus Kūris – a lawyer, a prominent constitutional law expert, and the former president of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania (2002-2008). Still, however, the State Inspectorate of Language (Valstybinė kalbos inspekcija) arbitrarily…

EFHR still fights hate speech in the Internet

The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) has received information about one more criminal order being issued for the author of an offensive comment, based on the Foundation’s applications directed to the General Prosecutor’s Office. The court of the Skuodo district (Skuodo rajono apylinkės teismas) has issued the third criminal order for A.V. for public…

Freedom House changes its report about Lithuania on EFHR’s application

Thanks to efforts of the European Foundation for Human Rights (EFHR) one of the world’s biggest organisations for democracy, Freedom House, has changed its report from the current year. In the report on Lithuania, which is available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/lithuania the fragment “The rights of ethnic minorities, who comprise about 16 percent of the population, are…

Court admits that EFHR is right in argument with Equal Treatment Controller’s Service

The decision of the Equal Treatment Controller’s Service (ETCS) is contradictory to its aims and tasks. Therefore, in an obvious way, it has violated its competence. This is what results from the decision of the District Administrative Court in Vilnius, taken on May 6th 2013. Thus, the Court has positively considered the complaint sent by…

Another success of EFHR – 3 criminal cases won

The freedom of speech is guaranteed in the legal system of each democratic country and in international documents. However, some limitations are often imposed on it, like for instance in the case of offending other people publically. The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR), in its fight against offensive comments in the Internet succeeds more…

Apple is not always an apple and Kowalski is not always Kowalski

According to rules of the game of connotations, in which we have to tell a word that comes to our mind when we hear another word, the majority of us, for the set that will be presented in a moment, would say: Cashmere – a geographic region or a kind of fabric, an apple is…

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…

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…

The campaign against bilingual street name plates continues

The Foundation has repeatedly informed about various steps (including legal) undertaken by different state institutions (especially the State Language Inspectorate) to remove the Polish street name plates common in the areas inhabited by the Polish national minority in Lithuania. On January 28 this year, another disadvantageous decision for the Poles had been undertaken by the…

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…

New year – new victories

The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) began 2013 by winning a cyberspace hate speech case. The Foundation spotted that a citizen of Šiauliai, G.D, had written a discriminatory comment inciting violence. On www.lrytas.lt website, under an article titled “Members of the European Parliament applied to the EU leaders for the protection of Polish minority rights”, G.D. posted his comment which read as follows: “All of you bastards should be strung up. <…> – You are enemies of Lithuania so <…> you got your heads smashed with a club… (Instead of <…> the culprit used a vulgar word degrading and humiliating members of the Polish minority).

Deprivation of liberty for an internet comment

The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) welcomes another court order issued against the author of an offensive comment on the grounds of motions filed by EFHR to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The Court of Alytus district municipality (Alytaus rajono apylinkės teismas) issued a court order against an inhabitant of this district (S.Š) for the incitement to national hatred and for the humiliation of the Russian minority. 

“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,…

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…

Results of the action taken against discrimination. Don’t be deceived!

Discrimination based on gender, age, nationality, religion, language, origin, social status or views is not only a problem for a state but also for all of us. European Foundation of Human Rights is aware of this problem and has been fighting against it by directing applications to law enforcement organizations about illegal entries in the Internet.

You can learn a lot about discrimination by reading online job offers. Authors break the law without even knowing it. European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is deeply concerned about the traces of discrimination in the offers,

Visible effects of the campaign led by EFHR against offensive comments in the cyberspace

“I won’t write any more comments about Poles. I’m scared and I obviously don’t want to be sued.” (http://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/lithuania/rsikorskis-lietuvoje-lenku-teises-butu-beveik-pakankamos-bet-jos-silpninamos.d?id=58876573&com=1&s=2&no=200). This comment proves that the campaign led by the Foundation against offensive comments in the Internet brings the desired effects. Offensive comments are less frequent and people who write those comments admit they are scared of writing texts inciting ethnic hatred. It is like in the proverb “We learn from our mistakes”. We can proudly say that the Foundation is successful in this case.

A hefty financial fine for the internet comment

The European Human Rights Foundation was glad to receive a piece of information concerning  the fine that has been issued as for the anti-internet-violence campaign that has ran for over a year.  For the first time the court of justice issued a warrant, based on the Foundation’s appeal to the General Prosecution, according to the Article 170 act 3 of the Penal Code. The warrant deals with the matter of public incitement to violence against the people of different nationality. District court in the city of Szawla issued a warrant for one of the city’s inhabitants- D.P.who, after reading the article from website www.lrytas.lt called “ Nationalists from Warsaw will come defend Poles”, published his comment: “ Give Poles back their corral, let them fight with Gypsies, so that  both of the parties are gone, we don’t need these outcasts in Lithuania.” That was the way in which D.P. urged everybody to violence, to crack down people who are of  different nationality.