Too Few Poles in the National Communities Council

Grzegorz Sakson, fot. wilnoteka.lt

At the beginning of December a new composition of the National Communities Council will start their activities. Poles will have three representatives there.

Grzegorz Sakson, the chairman of the Polish Lawyers Association in Lithuania; Albert Narwojsz, a representative of the Association of Poles in Lithuania of the Vilnius region branch; Władysław Wojnicz, the head of public benefit organization the World Congress of Wilniuki – are the new representatives of the Polish minority in the National Communities Council.

The Council consists of 24 members. It is an advisory body. Its members work in various government committees and working groups. Their task is to asses legislatives, to help in solving the problems of national minorities and to give an opinion on the projects related to the activities of national minorities.

“We were chosen to represent the interests of the Polish community and this is what we intend to do.  In this regard, there will be no revolution,” Grzegorz Sakson told Wilnoteka.

One of the most important tasks of the Council in the previous term was sharing work on the creation of a bill concerning national minorities. At the moment the bill is presented to the Sejmas. “Now, we have to make sure that during the first or the second reading some of the articles dealing with the laws important for Polish minority won’t be deleted,” says Sakson.

The Council will start their activities from January 1. Until then a new Minister of Culture and Deputy Ministers, including one representative of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, will be appointed. Currently, the activities of the Council are conducted by the Deputy Minister of Culture, Stanisław Widtmann, who most probably will remain in this position.

The first meeting of the National Communities Council that will take place in December will be devoted to organizational issues: the election of the President and two Vice-Presidents. It will be voting by secret ballot so at the moment the representatives of Polish organizations do not reveal if they will put forward their candidatures for these positions.

“Personally, I think that Poles, as the largest national minority in Lithuania, should hold a position of the President in the Council. However, this is difficult to achieve because of the failure to retain the principle of proportionality. The largest national minorities that live in Lithuania for many decades, for example Poles and Russians, have just about three  representatives in the Council. On the other hand, such minorities as Romanians or Lebanese have one representative. Because of the number of their votes Poles find it difficult to force through their candidates. Of course, every minority should be represented but it is not fair that very small incoming minorities should have a final word on matters concerning national minorities policy of the country and that they should have an advantage over minorities living in Lithuania for centuries,” says Grzegorz Sakson.

In the Council there are the representatives of Poles, Russians, Belarusians and also Tatars, Jews, Ukrainians, Romanians, Lebanese, Bulgarians, Greeks, Hungarians and others – a total of 18 nationalities.

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/za-malo-polakow-w-radzie-wspolnot-narodowych

Tłumaczenie Monika Rak w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Monika Rak the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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