- November 17, 2013
The Commission of Lithuanian Language against bilingual name plates
The State Commission of Lithuanian Language doesn’t support the proposal of using bilingual plates of streets’ names. It also doesn’t want to allow to communicate in Polish at the local governments where Poles constitute at least one fourth of the inhabitants.
According to the Commission, the draft of the National Minorities Act, prepared by the group led by Edward Trusewicz, deputy minister of culture from AWPL (English: Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania), would practically legalize bilingualism and that would be against the constitution.
“The demand that national minorities should be able to speak in their languages at public offices means that the office workers would have to know not only the official language of the country but also one or several languages of the minorities” – has been stated in the Commission’s motions announced in the Internet.
The Commission also warns that work of the police and emergency services could be disturbed by the bilingual plates.
The group led by deputy minister of culture, Edward Trusewicz, prepared the draft of the National Minorities Act, according to which “in a local government where the national minority constitutes at least 25% of all inhabitants, in contacts with administration offices a person from this minority has the right to use the language of this minority”. The draft also includes the rule that name of streets, public institutions and topographic signs in such places can be written in two languages: the official language of the country and the one of the minority. The bill hasn’t been passed to the cabinet counsil yet.
Currently, Poles constitute more than 25% of the inhabitants in Vilnius Region, Šalčininkai District, Švenčionys District, Trakai District and the Russians in Wisaginia.
Tłumaczenie by Elżbieta Szafarz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Elżbieta Szafarz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.