- April 2, 2014
Social democrats Gediminas Kirkilas i Irena Šiaulienė registered a bill on the spelling of names in the original in the Lithuanian Sejm. This would come into force by changes in the Civil Code
The current Lithuanian Civil Code says that the names should be written in the Lithuanian version. According to the bill, prepared by representatives of the Social Democratic party, names and surnames would still be written in the Lithuanian version, but some exceptions when the spelling of names uses the Latin symbols have also been allowed. These exceptions would apply to foreign citizens and people without citizenship, also to those citizens of Lithuania who would present the source document of record of the names in Latin symbols.
The authors of the project believe that because of the fact that Lithuania is in the EU and NATO, migration and the number of marriages by Lithuanian citizens with foreigners will increase, that’s why they should provide citizens with the ability to write their names in identity documents in the original. “The name and the surname are a symbol of the identity of the particular person, associated with their private and family life. Distortion of the name and surname, approving the new forms by another state is the human rights violation which may bring a lot of problems with proving the identity” – wrote the authors in their justification of the bill about the spelling of names.
On the 27th of February 2014 the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania ruled that the Commission of the Lithuanian Language may initiate an amendments to the act, allowing the spelling of non-lithuanian names in documents. The Constitutional Court also explained that at the linguists’ request there may be some other rules adopted than those that have been contained in the Resolution of the Supreme Council in 1991. According to the resolution of 1991 names and surnames of people without lithuanian nationality had to be written in the Lithuanian language on the basis of their sound.
The decision of the Constitutional Court was the basis for the preparation of the bill by the Social Democrats.
The issue of the official use of names and surnames in the original spelling was discussed on Wednesday, the 2nd of April, in Brussels by the Polish and Lithuanian Prime Ministers, Algirdas Butkevičius and Donald Tusk. This case has been one of the most sensitive issues in the Polish-Lithuanian relations for many years. Introducing the spelling of Polish names in Lithuania and Lithuanian in Poland with the use of all diacritical marks provides the Polish-Lithuanian Treaty from 1994. Currently, the ruling centre-left coalition in Lithuania committed itself to adopt the law authorizing the original spelling of the Polish names in Lithuanian documents.
At the meeting in Brussels Donald Tusk admitted that he had talked to the Prime Minister of Lithuania about challenging issues, including the issue of the Law on national minorities. “We would like the loyal citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, and it also refers to those with Polish nationality, to have the chance to improve the situation with regard to compliance with the standards recognized by the Council of Europe” – said Donald Tusk. “The meeting with the Prime Minister of Lithuania allows me to cautious optimism that these issues will find their statutory solution in the near future” – he added.
The head of the Lithuanian government Algirdas Butkevičius assured that the law on the spelling of names will be adopted till May 2014. But already in April the bill on the national minorities, which will implement the use of the bilingual terminology, will be prepared.
Tłumaczenie by Magdalena Kaczmarek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Magdalena Kaczmarek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.