Spelling of names and surnames in Poland and the possibility of their change

In recent years, Poland has introduced many changes in legislation concerning the spelling of names and surnames and also in the rules for changing them. It seems that Poland may be a good example of how to adjust the national law when it comes to delicate issues like names and surnames by taking into consideration the needs of…

The discussion concerning unusual spelling of names and surnames

On September 13th 2014 the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) representative, Ewelina Baliko, participated in radio discussion concerning the spelling of names and surnames in the documents of Lithuanian citizens. The discussion was held in Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT). The EFHR representative talked about examples of cases related to this topic which are…

Original spelling of names and surnames is a problem for all Lithuanian citizens

The Right to the original spelling of name and surname constitutes one of the core rights of every citizen. The possibility of proper usage of the law and respecting it should be unconditionally provided by each and every country. The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) would like to remind all that the European Court of…

Foreign personal names will be able to be adjusted to the original spelling

On the 15th July 2014, in the 1st reading at the Seimas, two projects related to the Law on the Spelling of Surnames in the  Identity Documents of the Lithuanian Citizens were accepted. It is hoped that these will be beneficial not only for the members of national minorities urging to be able to regain the original spelling…

SCLL is not against the original spelling of forenames and surnames

In April of this year the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) appealed to the State Commission for Lithuanian Language (SCLL, Valstybinė lietuvių kalbos komisija), whose function is the formation of guidelines in relation to state language policy, introducing arguments for accepting proper legal regulations concerning the issue of the spelling of forenames and surnames. Also,…

Original spelling of surnames should be regulated legally

The issue of the original spelling of forenames and surnames in passports and identity cards still remains one of the most controversial topics, and one regularly covered by media outlets. On the 1st and the 10th of April this year in the Lithuanian Seimas two projects concerning the spelling of forenames and surnames were registered. The…

Draft law concerning spelling of names and surnames – a big failure

On April 10 this year, the next draft law in the Lithuanian Parliament concerning the spelling of names and surnames in documents was registered. The proposal was signed by the members of all factions, except for the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. An alternative project promises the possibility to write “names and surnames” in…

45 writers oppose the original spelling of names and surnames

On 8th April 2014, 45 Lithuanian writers addressed a declaration to the highest authorities in Lithuania in which they expressed objections about the original spelling of names and surnames in documents issued in Lithuania. From the perspective of the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR), it is unpleasant and disappointing that a part of the Lithuanian intelligentsia…

The bill “liberalizing” the spelling of names – still no solution to the problem

The vice-chairman of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Gediminas Kirkilas, and the governor of the social democrats’ parliamentary faction, Irena Šiaulienė, introduced a draft law to the Seimas anticipating a liberalized mode of the spelling of names and surnames. Considering migration of the population, a growing number of mixed marriages, and the need to…

Right to use the language of national minorities is an issue of interpretation

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania is once again considering explanations for a few assumptions of the Constitutional Court decision from 21st October 1999, which refers to the spelling of surnames in passports of citizens of the Republic of Lithuania (RL). The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) emphasizes that a possibility to…

Personal names can now retain original spelling in official documents

The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is pleased to announce that rules regulating the original spelling of given and family names in official documents in Lithuania have now been changed. These rules are laid down by the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language. The EFHR had frequently attempted to demonstrate the need for such…

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…

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…

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…