The latest incident in Jašiūnai proves that the fears of the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) were well-founded. On 11th March, bilingual street signs were removed from private buildings. The present situation in Lithuania and the lack of clear regulations on the rights of national minorities is causing a growing number of violations of basic human rights.
EFHR has informed society that neither the verdict nor decision of governmental institutions that would oblige inhabitants to remove non-Lithuanian inscriptions have been adopted yet.
Trespassing on private property without the owner’s permission and the act of removing street signs is against the law. Every person has the right to protect his property and to freedom of expression. What is more, it should be remembered that discrimination based on race or origin is punishable by the law. Violations of basic human rights have to be investigated by police officers, and guilty parties must take responsibility before the law and compensate the owner’s damage.
Persons whose rights have been violated should report incidents to the police or inform EFHR. A lack of legal awareness on the part of society and authorities is favourable to indifference and the passivity, which in turn causes hatred.
EFHR will provide free legal consultations to every owner of bilingual street signs.