• June 12, 2012
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An open letter to the authors of the Forum of Dialogue and Co-operation with Lithuania

We received the declaration appointing the Forum of Dialogue and Co-operation with Lithuania with great interest, hope and care. The level of many countries mutual relations both regarding intensity as well as familiarity is always determined by specific reasons no matter what the times are. We hope that actions of the Forum aiming to improve Polish-Lithuanian relations will focus not on effects but on reasons of bad atmosphere concerning these relations. Within over twenty years of both countries independence, the Polish party has had a constant political concept towards our neighbours. It has been supporting of independent Republic of Lithuania and its both financial and political aspirations. Morover, according to this policy the representatives of the Republic of Poland gave up on demanding Poles in Lithuania rights which are constantly infringed by its following governments as to avoid Lithunian distrust and pre-war biases towards our country. It was believed that having in mind the good will of Polish party having been manifested for two decades, the authorities will change their conduct. Unfortunately, this was treated with disrespect and considered as weakness.

A deep impatience was manifested by the late Lech Kaczyński, the President of the Republic of Poland and what is more the same opinion is shared by the representatives of the government. Lithuanian part lack of good will showed by uncompromising attitude and ostensible actions imitating dialogue could be recently observed by Knut Vollenbaek, the OSCE High Commissioner. Let’s remind here that Lithuania during its OSCE presidency infringed the minorities rights instead of guarding its standards. It could be particulary seen in liquiadation of Polish educational system in Lithuania against pupils and parents will. With 200 thousands of Polish people in Lithuania living among 2,5 million of Lithuanian people, the parents were able to collect 60 thousand of signatures of people brave enough to sign a special petition. The example is an attitude of Gintaras Steponavičius, the Lithuanian Minister of Education who after mutual talks failure, was afraid of K. Vollenbaek visit during the debate. Steponavičius suggestion is to meet the Polish Minister with OSCE High Commissioner absence. The only interpretation is that the presence of objective witness could cause pointing the fault of the party who ceased negotiation.

Simultaneously, the Lithuanian authorities play for time aiming to liquidate Polish minority educational system whose representatives are considered as second-class citizens. In order to improve Polish-Lithuanian relations, we appeal to the Forum not to succumb to suggestions of the Lithuanian part about encouraging to build artificial relations at the cost of violating Poles in Lithuania rights. We call the parties participating in this elevated undertaking for standing up to the real reasons of cooling the relations between two countries and taking into consideration the opinion of Polish minority in Lithuania representatives. There is a huge disproportion between treating Lithuanian minority in Poland and Polish minority in Lithuania. Apart from violating the settlements of Polish-Lithuanian Treaty of 1994, the Republic of Lithuania also infringed the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities ratified by Lithuania in 2000. The subject of Polish minority rights infringement in Lithuania by Lithuanian authorities was already discussed at the forum of European Parliament. The Lithuanian authorities:

1. Cause changes in number of ethnic composition in areas where Polish minority is present (infringement of article 12 of Convention). The Lithuanian state administration carries out the process of land return, the land which was collectivized by the Soviet Union authorities. In Vilnius Region the significant part of the land is owned by the local society who is Polish mainly and now the land is transferred to the Lithuanian settlers. In this aim the lands transfer procedure is used which means that a person who wants to get the land back may apply for it in a different location for example from the heart of Lithuania he/she may “transfer” the land to the Vilnius Region. The right which guarantees the land return to its former owners or their heirs in the first place is permanently violated. It leads to numerous abuses which outrage the public opinion. The land return process is carried out by the state administration with no social control and any information about the transfers range is concealed.

Simultaneously the land return to the rightful owners is made hard or even impossible by any possible means. As a result, the number of Poles residing near Vilnius has been decreasing within last year, for example in Suderwa region the number decreased by 20%

2. Functioning and development of Polish educational system is made difficult by introducing regulations and organisational changes which lead to its liquidation ( infringement of articles 12.3, 14.1, 14.2 of Convention). In Lithuania the educational system is local governments-funded one. In regions tightly populated by Poles, the local government runs schools with Polish, Lithuanian and Russian language. For example in Vilnius region there are 48 Polish schools, 5 Russian schools and 20 Lithuanian schools ( which is 27,4% of total number) which maintains an appropriate balance between the Lithuanians (22,4% of population) and the rest of minorities. Nevertheless, in regions where Poles are majority, the Lithuanian authorities decided to create an additional state educational system in Lithuanian language only. In Vilnius region there are 17 schools of that kind, which gives 37 Lithuanian schools and 41% of total number.

County educational system has better financial conditions than the local governments system. It takes place in situation where local governments schools need more funds as the funds do not follow the needs. As a result more than a half of pupils in the Vilnius region attend Lithuanian schools (48,3%). Morover, the Lithuanian authorities ignored the parents protest and Polish minority representatives and forced through the reform aiming to liquidate the significant part of Polish schools and to limit radically teaching in Polish language.

3. Speaking Polish publicly has been made impossible in regions where Poles are majority ( infringement of articles 10, 11.2, 11.3 of Convention).

Since Lithuania has been an independent country, the Polish community in Lithuania demands as in regions populated by Poles, the Polish language could be used legally in public ( also in state and local government administration offices) as language supporting communication which so far has been ensured by the minorities act in law. The Lithuanian authorities reject the Poles demands and as a reaction to attempts of introducing Polish to the public sphere ( towns, streets, private buses routes names not only in Lithuanian but in Polish language either) , they impose repeated fines.

4. The electoral laws of Polish minority are limited ( infringement of article 4.2 of Convention). The electoral system in Lithuania is the semi-presidential system. In one mandate constituencies, the majority electoral system is applied. In many mandates constituency which includes the whole country, the proportional electoral system is applied. The votes are cast on parties lists and the election threshold for minorities is also envisaged.

In one mandate constituencies an unfavourable territorial division was introduced by including regions populated by Poles in regions where Lithuanian community is majority. Majority of Poles is present in one constituency only. If the division was introduced according to european standards , the Poles would have majority in four constituencies. Moreover, the electoral constituencies borders are updated in order to make difficult getting of mandates by Poles.

In previous election in many mandate constituency, the Poles did not manage to exceed the election threshold. As a result the Poles usually get between 2 and 3 mandates while in 1990 it was 9.

5. Writing of Polish names according to Polish spelling in official documents is made impossible. (infringement of articles 11.1 of Convention).

The Lithuanian authorities constantly ignore the will of Polish community representatives by writing of Polish names according to Lithuanian spelling. Polish names spelling negotiations which have been lasting for over a dozen years now and envisaged in the Polish-Lithuanian Treaty, did not reach an agreement. Apart from Convention and Treaty infringement, the Lithuanian state also violates non-transferable and in-born human dignity in such personal and fragile matter as form and sound of someone’s name.

6. The financial funds allocated for culture and Polish minority national identity development are divided in a way which is discriminatory for Poles ( infringement of article 5.1, 5.2 of Convention).

With all due respect:

Romuald Turkowski – professor, assistant professor, History Institute (HI) of Warsaw University (WU), Agnieszka Bartoszewicz – assistant professor, Alicja Kulecka – professor of HI of WU, assistant professor, Jolanta Choinska-Mika – professor of HI of WU, assistant professor, Agnieszka Janiak-Jasinska – professor of HI of WU, Michal Lesniewski – assistant professor of HI of WU, Piotr Kroll – PhD, HI of WU, Tadeusz Cegielski – professor, assistant professor, HI of WU, Andrzej Zupanski – author of Polish-Ukrainian seminars “Difficult questions”, the last-living participant of “Goral” action during world war II, World Union of Veterans of Home Army, Emil Noinski – PhD, Museum of Independence, Stefan Artymowski – PhD, Museum of Independence, Jolanta Zaleczny – PhD, Museum of Independence, Malgorzata Karpinska – professor, assistant professor, HI of WU, Maria Halanska – professor, assistant professor, WU, Anna Pajdzinska – assistant professor, Tadeusz Sarnowski – professor of Polish Language Institute of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Marzena Luszczewska – Archeology Institute of WU,

Wlodzimierz Godlewski – professor, assistant professor, Archeology Institute of WU, Dariusz Szelag – PhD, Archeology Institute of WU, Wieslaw Wieckowski – PhD, Archeology Institute of WU,

Katarzyna Januszek – PhD, Archeology Institute of WU, Martyna Deszczynska – PhD, History Institute of WU, Dominik Purchala – representative of directors, History Institute of WU, Grazyna Szelagowska – assistant professor, History Institute of WU, Adam Brzozowski – professor, History Institute of WU, professor of Faculty of Law and Administration of WU,

Slawomir Rzepka – PhD, WU, Zofia Zaron – assistant professor, Practical Polish Philology Institute of WU,

Anna Kwak – professor, assistant professor, Department of Evaluation and educational studies of WU, Izabela Malinowska – professor, assistant professor, Faculty of Journalism and Political Science of WU, Maciej Szankowski – professor, assistant professor, Faculty of Fine Arts of Mikolaj Kopernik University, Piotr Ugniewski – assistant professor, HI of WU, Hieronim Grala – PhD, HI of WU, Izabela Winiarska – PhD, Polish Philology Institute of WU, Miroslaw Nagielski – professor, assistant professor, HI of WU, Marcin Zaremba – PhD, HI of WU,

Marta Axentowicz-Bohosiewicz – chairman of Armenian Fundation, Adam Wsiołkowski – professor, assistant professor, Academy of Fine Arts, Cracow, Stanislaw Moryto – professor, assistant professor, Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw,

Tomasz Borecki – professor, assistant professor, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Jerzy Malec – professor, assistant professor, Cracow Academy of Frycz-Modrzejewski, Janusz Zmija – professor, assistant professor, chancellor of Agricultural University in Cracow, Ryszard Gorecki – professor, assistant professor, Warmia and Mazury University, chancellor, PO senator, Jerzy Kolarzowski – assistant professor, Faculty of Law and Administration of WU, Malgorzata Micerska-Wrotkowska – PhD, Faculty of Law and Administration of WU, Tadeusz Derda – assistant professor, professor of Humanities Department of WU, Jakub Brdulak – PhD, Warsaw School of Economics, Jozef Tymanowski – assistant professor, Faculty of Journalism and Political Science of WU, Zygmunt Bak – assistant professor, Jan Dlugosz Academy in Czestochowa,

Jan Laszczyk –  assistant professor, Academy of Special Education, Marian Oslislo – professor, assistant professor, Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Antoni Cygan – professor, assistant professor, Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice,

Justyna Miecznikowska – PhD, European Studies of WU, Romuald Niedzielko – editor, Institute of National Remembrance, Marek Janicki – PhD, HI of WU,

Slawomir Gawlas – assistant professor, HI of WU, Rafal Habielski – professor, assistant professor, Journalism Institute of WU, Jacek Banaszkiewicz – professor, assistant professor, HI of WU, Jolanta Sikorska-Kulesza – assistant professor, HI of WU,

Jerzy Pysiak – PhD, HI of WU, Krzysztof Skwierczynski – PhD, HI of WU, Franciszek Stepniowski – PhD, Archeology Institute of WU, Hubert Izdebski – professor, assistant professor, FAculty of Law and Administration of WU, Rafal Ziemkiewicz – editor,

Maciej Wojtynski –  assistant professor, HI of WU, Jacek Rzepka – assistant professor, HI of WU, Stefan Ciara – professor, HI of WU, Zofia Zielinska – professor, assistant professor, HI of WU, Ewa Bem-Wisniewska – PhD, Polish Philology Institute of WU,

Anna Wierzchowska – PhD, Political Sciences Institute of WU, Danuta Kadzielowa – professor, Psychology Department of WU, Malgorzata Pacek – PhD, European Centre of WU, Andrzej Harasimowicz – professor, assistant professor, European Centre of WU, Wincenty Grajewski – assistant professor, Polish Philology Institute of WU, Anna Zielinska – assistant professor, Pedagogical Department of WU, Roman Dolata – assistant professor, Pedagogical Department of WU, Andrzej Karpinski – professor, assistant professor, HI of WU, Alina Zurawska-Witkowska – assistant professor, Piotr Bielinski – assistant professor, History Department of WU, Marcin Niemojewski – PhD,

Polish Culture Institute of WU, Maria Zablocka – professor, Faculty of Law and Administration, Rafal Godon – PhD, Pedagogical Department of WU,

Piotr Kladoczny – PhD, Faculty of Law and Administration of WU, Marta Zahorska – assistant professor, Sociology Institute of WU, Stanislaw Sulowski – professor, Political Sciences Institute of WU, Wojciech Satula – professor, assistant professor, Philosophy Institute of WU, Jerzy Kaminski – professor, assistant professor, Philosophy Institute of WU, Tomasz Matulewicz – professor, assistant professor, Philosophy Institute of WU, Wlodzimierz Oniszczenko – professor, assistant professor, Psychology Institute, Tomasz Giaro – professor, assistant professor, Faculty of Law and Administration, Stanislaw Piatek – assistant professor of management of WU, Slawomir Sokolowski – Universitatis Varsoviensis Foundation, Michal Jezierski – editor, Fronda,

Zbigniew Kurcz –  professor, head of Sociology Institute of Wroclaw University, Tadeusz Marczak – professor, Wroclaw University, Zdzislaw Zagorski – professor, Sociology Institute of Wroclaw University, Wieslaw Bokajlo – professor, International Studies Institute of Wroclaw University, Zdzislaw Winnicki – professor, head of International Studies Institute of Wroclaw University,

Zdzislaw Morawski –  professor, Sociology Institute of Wroclaw University, Zbigniew Wiktor – professor, International Studies Institute of Wroclaw University, Jerzy Juchnowski – professor, Dean of Social Sciences Department of Wroclaw University,

Boguslaw Paz – professor, Philosophy Institute of Wroclaw University, Joanna Jablkowska – professor, vice-chancellor of Lodz University, Antoni Rozalski – professor, vice-chancellor of Lodz University,

Pawel Maslanka – professor, vice-chancellor of Lodz University, Robert Los – professor, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Eugeniusz Ponczek – Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University,

Lucyna Chmielewska – PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Karol Zakowski – PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Zbigniew Podlasiak – PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Justyna Anders – PhD, Department of International Marketing and Distribution, Joanna Pietraszczyk – PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Andrzej Sepkowski – PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Artur Galkowski – PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Jan Rydz – deputy chancellor of Lodz University, D.Peter – PhD, Centre of Education of Lodz University, Izabella Penier – PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, A. Lukowska-PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University,

Ryszard Machnikowski – PhD, Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Anna Pateck- Frauenfelder, Bożena Walicka, Tomasz Dzikowski, Michał Pierzgalski, Robert Czaldor, – PhDs of Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University,

Jacek Reginia-Zacharski, Michał Słowikowski, Małgorzata Rączkowska, – PhDs of Department of International and Political Studies of Lodz University, Konrad Skladkowski – PhD, Faculty of Law and Administration, Julian Lawrynowicz – professor, Tadeusz Balcerzak – professor, Adam Busiakiewicz – PhD, Ilona Zasada – PhD, Marek Moneta – PhD, Andrzej Smialkowski – PhD, – Lodz University, Andrzej Krys – PhD, Andrzej Zak – PhD, Jan Malinowski – PhD, Andrzej Korejwo – PhD, Witold Szmaja – PhD, Jadwiga Skurska – PhD, Sławomir Pawlowski – PhD,

Janusz Skubalski – PhD, Adam Jozwik – PhD – employees of Department of Solid State Physics, University of Lodz, Wanda M. Krajewska – professor, Biology Department of University of Lodz

Miroslaw Soszynski  – professor, Krzysztof Gwozdzinski – professor, Mieczyslaw Puchala – professor, Teresa Gabryelak – professor, Koter-Michalak –

professor Barbara Klajnert –  professor, Zofia Jozwiak – professor Aneta Kocewa-Chyla – professor, Maria Kwiatkowska – professor, Zofia Kilianska – professor, Krystyna Czyzewska – professor, Janusz Herezniak – professor, Malgorzata Posmyk – professor, Maria Sklodowska – professor, Jacek Sicinski – professor, Ewa Marczynska – PhD, Katarzyna Nowak –

PhD, Aleksandra Rodacka – PhD, Janusz Czepas – PhD, Piotr Duchnowicz – PhD, Anna Janaczewska – PhD, Agnieszka Marczak – PhD, Aneta Rogalska – PhD, Anna Pieniazek – PhD,

Andrzej Kazmierczak – PhD, Justyna Polit – PhD, Dariusz Stepinski – PhD, Katarzyna Poplonska – PhD, Beata Olas – PhD, Magdalena Brys – PhD, Anna Krzeslak – PhD, Joanna Zolnierczyk – PhD, Ewa Femme – PhD, Tomasz Poplawski – PhD, Michal Ponczek – PhD, Joanna Saluk – PhD, Bogdan Kortek – PhD, Pawel Nowak – PhD, Halina Zbikowska – PhD, Renata Bocian – PhD, Marek Wieczorek – PhD, Magdalena Strzelczak – PhD, Henryk Golebiewski – PhD, Maria Krolewicz – PhD, Katarzyna Zielinska –

PhD, Joanna Zelazna-Wieczorek – PhD, Malgorzata Ruszkiewicz – PhD, Wieslaw Lorkiewicz – PhD, Magdalena Moryl – PhD, Magdalena Kowalewicz-Kulbat – PhD, Lidia Marszal – PhD, Wojciech Jurasz – PhD, Piotr Presler –

PhD Agnieszka Sorzynska – PhD, Anna Jazdzewska – PhD-employees of Biology Department of Lodz University Malgorzata Rozalska – PhD, Michal Grabowski – PhD, Grzegorz Tonczyk – PhD, Karolina B. Spychalska – PhD-employees of Lodz University, Jerzy Duraj – professor, Faculty of Economics and Sociology, dean of Lodz University, Maria Bijak – Kaszuba – Faculty of Economics and Sociology. Justyna Wiktorowicz – PhD, Pawel Starosta – PhD, Justyna Przywojska – PhD, Jacek Stasiak – PhD, Piotr Oleksiak – PhD, Beata Guziejewska – PhD, Zygmunt Konieczny – PhD, Aleksander Prelich – PhD, Jerzy Krzyszkowicz – PhD, Katarzyna Waniek – PhD, Mariusz Gorajski – PhD, Jerzy Korzeniewski – PhD-employees of Faculty of Economics and Sociology of Lodz University, Rafal Kasprzyk – PhD, attorney, activist of former “Solidarity” movement, Marek Gorski – professor, Jozef Jagiela – professor, Teresa Debowska-Romanowska – professor, Dariusz Gorecki – professor, Michal Domagala – professor, Tomasz Grzegorczyk – professor, Stefan Lelental – professor, J. Matuszewski – professor, Teresa Wyka – professor, Monika Namyslawska – professor,

Malgorzata Kurzynoga – PhD, Teresa Augustyniak-Gorska – PhD, Ewa Staszewska – PhD, Marcin Wieczorek – PhD, Ireneusz Mirek – PhD, Maciej Mulinski – PhD,

Marcin Karpowski – PhD, Zofia Duniewska – PhD, Olgierd Cysek – PhD, Agata Starosta – PhD, Lena Fijalkowska – PhD,

Tomasz Kubicki – PhD, Dagmara Skrzywanek-Jaworska – PhD, Joanna Połatyńska – PhD,

Tomasz Bekrycht – PhD-employees of Faculty of Law and Economics of Lodz University, Wojciech Nowicki – Theatre manager, Izabela Noszczyka – actress, Jaracz Theatre in Lodz, Katarzyna Cynke – actress, Barbara Zbirów – actress, Bogusława Pawelec – actress, Dobromir Dymecki – actor, Monika Badowska – actress-actors of Jaracz Theatre in Lodz, Wacław Dobrowolski – singer artist, Anna Skiba – singer artist, Maria Gorlach – singer artist, Artur Mieko – singer artist, Beata Suder – singer artist-artists of The Grand Theater in Łódź, Zdzisław Jaskuła – manager of Teatr Nowy in Lodz, Katarzyna Żuk – actress, Sławomir Sulej – actor, Miroslawa Olbinska – actress, Magdalena Murawska – actress, Piotr Sewerynski – actor, Jerzy Krasun – actor, Pawel Audykowski – actor, Malgorzata Skoczylas – actress, Wojciech Bartoszek – actor, Michał Bielinski – actor, Wojciech Oleksiewicz – actor, Barbara Dembicka – actress, Kamila Wojciechowska – actress, Hanna Molewska – actress-artists of Teatr Nowy in Lodz, Mariusz Grzegorzek – Professor, chancellor of PWSFTViT (Film, TV and Theatre School University in Lodz). Elżbieta Protakiewic – professor,

Piotr Dumała –  professor, Janusz Tylman – Professor, Jolanta Dylewska – professor, Mariusz Grzegorzek – professor,. Janusz Sosnowski – professor, Andrzej Sapija – PhD, Marek Skrobecki – PhD,

Milenia Fiedler – PhD, Wiesława Stefańska – lecturer, Marek Salori – lecturer, Maciej Błonski – PhD,

Krzysztof Rynkiewicz – PhD, A. Musiał – PhD, Marek Edelman – PhD,

Witold Sobociński  – professor-employees of PWSFTViT, Waldemar Izdebski – associate professor, Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Management, Tomasz Wiśniewski – assistant professor, Marek Maciejczak – professor, Institute of Heat Engineering, Maria Bretner – assistant professor, Lucjan Grochowski – professor, Faculty of Transportation, Adam Gryff-Keller – professor, Faculty of Chemistry, Stanisław Sieniutycz – professor, Faculty of Chemistry and Process Engineering-employees of Warsaw University of Technology, Łukasz Hardt – PhD, Piotr Koryś – PhD,  Gabriela Grotkowska – PhD, Robert Borowski – PhD, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Marta Widy-Behiesse – PhD, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Krzysztof Cybulski – PhD, Faculty of Management-University of Warsaw,

Tomasz Zalega  – PhD, Faculty of Management, Jan Żaryn – professor, Faculty of History, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Ludwik Synoradzki – PhD, Faculty of Chemistry of Warsaw University of Technology.

http://kurierwilenski.lt/2012/06/12/list-otwarty-do-tworcow-forum-dialogu-i-wspolpracy-z-litwa/

Tłumaczenie Dorota Szewczyk-Madejewska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Dorota Szewczyk-Madejewska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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