- February 12, 2014
In the Parliament, the meeting of the OSCE and the EAPL representatives
Currently, the OSCE representatives who came in order to asses an election environment and our country’s preparations to the upcoming presidential and the European Parliamentary elections, are indwelling in Lithuania. During an official visit, the guests are bound to meet with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Electoral Commission, the Constitutional Tribune, the Supreme Administrative Court, political parties, non-governmental organizations and the media.
On Wednesday, a meeting of Parliamentary faction of the EAPL with the representatives of the Needs Evaluation Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Richard Lappin and Alexey Gromov, took place. The OSCE’s commentary concerning the parliamentary election in 2012 has been discussed during the meeting.
The chairwoman of the faction, Rita Tamašunienė, noticed that in Lithuania, by equaling the number of electors in districts while keeping the limits from 0,9 to 1,1 of an average number of electors in the district, ones attempt to an artificial division and weakening the ethnic minorities’ electorate, which hamper ethnic minorities to have own representative who would represent them in the highest public institutions. Rita Tamašunienė informed also that Lithuania does not carry out the other instructions of the OSCE which concern ethnic minorities’ situation in our country.
“In the OSCE’s report from 2013, 4 of 13 instructions directly concern ethnic minorities and their possibility to be represented on all of the public authorities’ levels. Until now, the instructions have not been carried out. A good election practice has not been placed in the domestic election law” – said Rita Tamašunienė.
The chairwoman of the EAPL’s Parliamentary faction also pointed out that punishments, for using bilingual plaques on private buildings in the locations where ethnic minorities pose 80% of the population, are imposed in Lithuania.
The OSCE representatives asked whether the ethnic minorities experience problems due to the fact that the electoral documentation is provided only in Lithuanian. The vice-chairwoman of the faction, Wanda Krawczonok, along with the MP Irina Rozowa, informed that both the Polish and the Russian and Lithuania’s citizens of other nationalities experience difficulties for that reason. According to them, that problem may be solved by printing all of the electoral materials in also in other languages in the localities closely inhabited by ethnic minorities. That kind of practice has been used in the referendum concerning Lithuania’s accession to the European Union and it has turned out to be justified.
The participants of the meeting noticed also that trials of completing some of the international organization’s instructions have been commenced, while the other are forgotten and thereby the international law and citizen’s rights are being broken. Some of the instructions may contradict the domestic laws; that is why there is no question about their realization, although the other countries’ practice shows that realization of the above instructions is not complicated and compatible with the domestic law.
The OSCE’s representatives were leading an active discussion, they listened to the participants’ of the meeting observations and confirmed that Lithuania does not adhere to the international instructions, and too high election requirements for ethnic minorities’ representatives to the highest state authorities are set. The participants of the session pointed out that comments and recommendations of the represented by them organizations are irrelevant to provide a democratic election process. The authorities of the countries should decide about the way of the OSCE’s instructions implementation and if need be they should change the acts or other domestic laws in order to implement the instructions; this has to be done.
Tłumaczenie by Małgorzata Bigoraj w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Małgorzata Bigoraj within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.