In a recent interview, Professor Fernand de Varennes, a world-renowned expert on human rights, recognized the demands where the EAPL raises by years, namely:
1. Lithuania should fulfill their international obligations under international instruments that have the superior power
2. autochthonous national minorities (such as the Poles living in Lithuania, Belarusians and representatives in. nationality) other rights than the representatives of the new immigration.
Below we present an fragement from an interview with an expert on human rights professor. Fernand de Varennes.
“When it comes to Lithuania and local problems, lives here a quite large Polish community. In addition, most live in compact territory around the capital of Lithuania – Vilnius. Problem which we face now, is the fact that these communities can actually form the majority population of the town or village – and their numbers may even exceed 50% – want the street names on the buildings were written in Lithuanian and Polish. Could you comment on this situation in the context of minority rights and human rights?
Fernand de Varennes: Lithuania ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which contains provisions for labeling streets. Based on these rules, in places where the majority of the representatives of national minorities, the state should take some measures to ensure the naming of streets in the appropriate language. This entry has been worded a bit unusual and I know, that the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania has ruled on this issue. However, I believe that the NSA was wrong. It’s obvious that ratifying this international act Lithuania has assumed certain obligations. That is why the Lithuanian authorities should admit commitment to certain things in relation to the representatives of the Polish-speaking community, living in the territory of Lithuania, which – as I’ve mentioned focuses on the area of Vilnius, and perhaps even a majority of these destinations … In other words, we must determine what is the source of specific commitments. The situation is clear enough – the Polish community is quite large. The Lord Himself said that the majority of Poles in these places, so the answer is obvious. Was ratified legislation that guarantees certain rights that the Lithuanian authorities should respect that.
– Let’s look at this issue in the context of globalization. As you have already said it received a significant displacement of the population. After the accession of Eastern European countries to the European Union, many Poles, Lithuanians and citizens of other countries such as Eastern Europe went to England and lives in London. If we are talking about the migration of the population to emigrate in search of work to other countries do the same rules apply also in cases where foreign migrants make up your community?
Fernand de Varennes: Here we are dealing with a different problem. I mentioned a specific European agreement – the Framework Convention, which deals exclusively with national minorities. On this topic is still under discussion, but accepted that in the context of Europe – and Europe only – yes, as stated in this document, we call minority historical and traditional populations. For example, the Polish minority here that the Russian minority in Estonia may argue that their presence in these countries is historically conditioned. If we talk about Lithuanians and Poles in London in Ireland, then there are already minorities. Therefore, the Convention does not allow communities of Poles in Ireland, where it is quite large, to apply for the right to save the street names in Polish. When it comes to the Convention, the matter is clear – she treats on National Minorities. In addition, aside from this, as you said, even if we check the percentage of Poles in Ireland, we find that they do not live in a particular place. Polish citizens live in the whole territory of Ireland, perhaps a bit more there are in Dublin. But that amounts to at least ten percent of the population of Dublin? The answer is – no. Therefore, even if we treat them as a national minority, it will be necessary in a particular quantitative of the village. That percentage range is not precisely defined, very often it assesses the appropriate committee of experts. However, in my opinion, the representatives of national minorities will apply for the enforcement of this law, they should be at least ten percent of the population of the territory. Therefore, if we look at it through the prism of the Framework Convention, the issue moved by the Lord in Europe today does not exist, because immigrants are not a required percentage of the population and therefore are not considered as a national minority. “
Tłumaczenie Katarzyna Dąbrowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Katarzyna Dąbrowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.