The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is concerned about the fact that on 9th June this year two female police officers from the Main Police Station in Vilnius paid a visit to Władysław Syrokomla High School.
The police officers claimed that their aim was to investigate an anonymous letter in which the sender requested to punish parents who stopped their children attending school on 3rd June. It was the day of a warning strike against damaging the education of national minorities in Polish schools located in Vilnius and nearby regions.
For EFHR the aforementioned action of police is an abuse of rights and freedom of the citizens, and it is an action which aims at threatening national minorities in particular. Such interventions, lacking in any objective foundation, cannot be tolerated in a country which desires to be perceived as democratic and upholding its commitments and standards of the European community.
We would like to highlight the fact that by ratifying the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM), all sides of the convention, including Lithuania, ensured respect for the rights of every person belonging to a national minority as well as to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art.7). Furthermore, Lithuanian law also guarantees freedom of assembly. Article 36 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania says that citizens may not be prohibited or hindered from assembling, unarmed, in peaceful meetings. According to Art.1 p.1 of the Law on Meetings of the Republic of Lithuania (LR susirinkimų įstatymas), the right to peaceful assembly may be constricted only in case of war or in the case of a state of emergency.
On 10th June EFHR wrote to the Main Police Station in Vilnius with a request to explain the ensuing situation and to determine whether the actions of the police are legitimate.
All educational establishments and associations with reservations about the way they have been/are being treated, and those encountering a similar attitude from the authorities, please contact us via phone (+370 691 50 822) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). We would like to appeal to teachers, parents, and school headmasters to report information regarding every visit from police officers to EFHR immediately and not let themselves be threatened. We provide free consultations and legal aid in this field.