We invite you to read the latest publication which provides an overview of the situation of national minorities in Lithuania
European Foundation of Human Rights volunteer Oksana Baitala prepared the overview „Prospects of inclusion national minorities into Lithuanian society and enforcing their rights by means of monitoring the implementation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities“.
Nelson Mandela once stated that “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated”. Indeed, education plays a crucial role in the economic well-being and cultural diversity of each country as well as determining its international policy and geopolitical status. Therefore, it is very crucial to ensure that all people, residing within the territory of the state, have an equal access to education facilities and are provided with the high-standard quality of teaching and learning materials alongside qualified staff working in the educational sphere.
National minorities are not an exception in this regard, thus, they have to be integrated into the society of every country with special protection and full enjoyment of their rights guaranteed by the governments. There is no universal definition when it comes to the term of a national minority. An international instrument in the sphere of safeguarding the minority rights and freedoms, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, does not provide a definition for national minority. Besides a number of international and regional documents which Lithuania has ratified, the legal status of national minorities in Lithuania is regulated by The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (Articles 29, 45), legislation adopted by the Lithuanian Parliament and by-laws regulating various spheres of public life in relation to minority communities. The statistics has shown that, by the end of 2021, 2 million 810 thousand people lived in Lithuania and 432 thousand of them comprised national minorities. Unfortunately, in practice there is a de-facto divergence from the provisions laid out in the legal framework on rights and freedoms of national minorities residing within Lithuania’s territory.
The situation of national minorities in Lithuania remains ambiguous. The inclusion of minority communities into Lithuanian society by ensuring an equal access to the various spheres of public life requires continuous efforts and improvements from the side of the Lithuanian government, state authorities and their cooperation with the non-governmental and international organisations. Amongst the possible means of implementing the right of minorities to education are addressing the issue of the Lithuanian-Poles, exercising its obligations under the Declaration on the Education of the Polish National Minority in the Republic of Lithuania and the Lithuanian National Minority in the Republic of Poland.
Based on the conducted research, recommendations presented in the publication as to the regulation of the status of national minorities in the Republic of Lithuania are formulated.