The European Action Week Against Racism is coordinated by a network of non-governmental organisations, called UNITED for Intercultural Action. The week takes place every year on 21st March, in the context of the Day of Fighting Racial Discrimination, which was established by the UN. It is important to promote in the society the idea of…Details
Changes in today’s society are taking place faster and faster. The meaning of terms such as state, nation, Europe are evolving slowly but inevitably. It can be openly said that the concept of national states from the 19th century is now outdated. In the Europe of today, there are no mono–ethnic countries. Historical influences, labour migration, tourism, business globalization etc. make people of different nationalities change their places of living for various reasons, settle in areas inhabited by other peoples and, in general, travel much more than they travelled in the past. Contact with representatives of various cultures or nations allows one to broaden one’s horizons and to see the world differently from new perspectives. It also creates new possibilities for improvement.Details
The interest in the Polish minority in Lithuania is still growing, even on the international stage. Dr László Marácz has analysed the situation of Polish people in Lithuania. The author of the article “Poles in Lithuania” observes that recently Polish-Lithuanian relations are very tense. Moreover, Brussels and Washington are also dissatisfied with the ensuing situation between the two countries. Even non-aligned Sweden is concerned. OSCE High Commissioner for Minorities Kurt Vollebaek was sent to Lithuania in order to settle this conflict. However, so far, he has not accomplished anything satisfactory. He was informed by Lithuania that the legislation concerning local laws of Poles won’t be changed by the Seimas of the Lithuanian Republic.Details
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…Details
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,…Details
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…Details
Now, nobody can be afraid of being punished for writing anything in Polish, Belorussian or Russian. The aim of writing in other languages is to improve the quality of services for tourists and to encourage more tourism to Lithuania. The adoption of the new legislation allows traders to advertise their business in any language they choose. Next to advertisements in the official language it is now possible to include different information or vocal recordings about the business in a foreign language without the fear of being fined. So far the regulations prohibited these types of advertisements and this was, according to the Foundation, illegal and breaking the rules of economic freedom.Details
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…Details
Invitation for an information meeting: do I have the right to the original spelling of my name and surname?
The European Foundation of Human Rights cordially invites everyone to an information meeting – ‘How to change the name – a step-by-step guide.’ The meeting is directed to everyone interested in benefiting from one of the fundamental human rights – the original spelling of their name and/or surname. The meeting will be attended by a…Details
Some time ago, the European Foundation of Human Rights came across an outrageous group on social networking site Facebook called “Saw for the Poles”, which aimed to share all sorts of offensive content regarding Polish people. Their motto was “Shiv a pole while he’s young!” EFHR submitted a claim about the group and following that, the Regional Prosecution Office of Lithuania announced that they had started an official investigation into the matter, led by the Vilnius Constabulary.Details
The Department of Youth of the Council of Europe would like to invite all young internet activists interested in cases of human rights violations, violence in general, aggression, discrimination and racism to apply for participation in a series of free training courses that are set to take place between February 2013 and March 2014 in…Details
Estonian Foundation Noored Ühiskonna Heaks offers trainings entitled ‘CoexEast’, which will take place in March 13 – 20 this year in Bielsko-Biała, Poland. CoexEst – is an international project with the primary objective to analyse the problems of discrimination and xenophobia in a globalised world. There will be also discussed other topics such as intercultural…Details
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…Details
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…Details
On 6 December of this year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation published an unprecedented document – a report on obeying human rights legislation in the European Union. Russia is not usually associated with obeying these rights – in fact, the largest number of complaints filed to the European Court of Human Rights come from Russia. Furthermore, Russia has the highest number of ECtHR lost cases. Nevertheless, the Russian Ministry of the Interior decided to scrutinize the situation of human rights in particular member states of the European Union.Details
This year the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is going to play in Vilnius for the first time! The partner of the action is the Radio station “From Over Neris”. The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is a charity action which aims to collect money for the purchase of medical equipment for hospitals in Poland. The collections…Details
Last Thursday, a team of people was sent by the European Foundation for Human Rights to deliver Christmas gifts to the wards of the Orphanage in Podbrodzie. The headmaster was also given educational materials related with human rights, designed for the youngest pupils as well as for the teenagers, with a special focus on the…Details
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,…Details
A person who would like to exercise his/her right to change a name should file an application to the local Civil Registry Office (Civilinės metrikacijos skyrius). The complete list of the Offices can be found at: https://mepis.vrm.lt/web/mepis/kontaktai.
A written application for a name change can also be submitted via the internet, through the MEPIS system (https://mepis.vrm.lt).
The following documents should be attached to the filled in application form (www.efhr.eu/application):Details
4th Summer Academy: Democracy at School
Residential seminar: 6-14 July 2013, Sulejówek/Warsaw, Poland
Deadline to apply: 18 January 2013
A short overview – What is the Summer Academy: Democracy at School?
The EWC is calling for participants for the 4th Summer Academy: Democracy at School, which will take place 6-14 July 2013 in Poland. The Summer Academy offers a regional training to education professionals and local community actors from Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region.