- March 19, 2013
Lithuania/ Appeal for the protection of Lithuanian language and territorial integrity
Nearly 17 thousand of residents of Lithuania signed the anti-Polish petition concerning the protection of the Lithuanian official language and territorial integrity of the country, which was submitted on Tuesday to the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė and to the Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius.
The appeal states a demand that ‘the authorities of the country do not violate the Constitution of Lithuania and the Official Language Act’ and not to deform ‘the ethnic lands of Lithuania through the Polonization’ of the names of streets and towns.
The signatories to the appeal protest against the original spelling of the Polish surnames in the Lithuanian documents and against Polish Card issued in Lithuania; they appeal against the adjournment of the realization of the unified Matura exam in Lithuanian language in Lithuanian schools and national minorities’ schools.
The appeal indicates also the necessity for striving that ‘Poland should admit to the prewar occupation of the Eastern Lithuania and apologize for forced Polonization’. ‘Only by recognizing the prewar conflicts and their consequences we can count on trust in bilateral relations’ – we read in the petition.
The initiators of the appeal, known for years for anti-Polish statements, are: Kazimieras Garszva, the President of the ‘Vilnija’ (The Vilnius Region) Association, Gintaras Songaila, the leader of the Lithuanian Nationalist Union and MPs: Rytas Kupczinskas, Vaclovas Patackas and Vytautas Juozapaitis.
The programme of the Centre-Left Government of Lithuania, that was appointed in December 2012, anticipates solving certain problems that the Polish minority has been struggling with. It determines, among other things, the legalization of double names of towns and streets in the regions densely inhabited by the national minorities and maintaining the original spelling of Polish surnames in documents, and also the analysis of some of the principles of the education act that is criticized by Poles.
The Cabinet consists of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania, the Labour Party, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and the Order and Justice Party.
Tłumaczenie Barbara Rożek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Barbara Rożek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.