- March 20, 2013
Signatures for anti-Polish petition
A list with the signatures of over 17 thousand residents of Lithuania for a petition for the protection of the official language and the Lithuanian territorial integrity has been submitted to the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, to the Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius and to the Chairman of the Seimas Vydas Gedvilas.
The campaign to collect signatures for the petition was initiated three months ago the by Lithuanian politicians and the activists notorious for anti-Polish attacks: Gintaras Songaila, the leader of the Lithuanian Nationalist Union, Kazimieras Garšva, the President of the ‘Vilnija’ Association, Kasparas Genzbigelis, a social activist, and MPs of the Seimas – Rytas Kupčinskas, Vaclovas Patackas and Vytautas Juozapaitis.
For three months the residents of Lithuania could sign the petition ‘A demand of the authorities of the Republic of Lithuania for the protection of the official language and the Lithuanian territorial integrity’ which was published, among other things, on the web portal peticijos.lt where 7 thousand people signed.
The collection of signatures was also conducted directly.
The authors of the petition accuse the authorities of violating the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Official Language Act.
In the petition, the requests were formulated in six points. The authors demand the sole Lithuanian spelling in the names of towns and streets and not to introduce public inscriptions neither in Polish nor in any Slavic language; not giving regional languages statuses, maintaining only the Lithuanian spelling regarding names and surnames (with foreign surnames spelling on the second page of a passport possibly); to stop actions resulting in forming territorial autonomy in Lithuania; to abandon introducing facilitations in the official language teaching and not to resign from the unified state exam and not to establish the transitional periods; striving of the Lithuanian authorities to admitting to the prewar occupation of Vilnius by Poland and the apologies for forced Polonization; the correct assessment of the prewar Polish-Lithuanian conflict. The last point of the petition states the requirement to stop the process of the issuing of Polish Card in Lithuania and to cease the slanderous policy (according to the authors of the petition) led by the Polish side towards Lithuania.
The signatures for the petition to the Lithuanian authorities started to be collected when first information occurred that the Government of Algirdas Butkevičius will be striving to improve Polish-Lithuanian relations and to solve particular problems reported by the Polish minority in Lithuania. The petition was submitted to the representatives of the Lithuanian authorities on the 75th anniversary of the normalization of Polish-Lithuanian relations and when the working group, dealing with the problems of national minorities in Lithuania, finished work and presented recommendations to the bill on the original spelling of surnames and the Act on National Minorities to the government of the Republic of Lithuania.
The initiators of collecting signatures announced the continuation of the campaign.
Based on: BNS, peticijos.lt, inf.wł.
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.