- April 4, 2014
OSCE in defence of Poles in Lithuania
Knut Vollebaek, the High Commissioner of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on National Minorities, repeatedly declared and expressed his sympathy for justifiable ambitions of Polish minority in Lithuania and advocacy towards their fight for the fair rights. He visited Lithuania twice: in 2011 and 2012. Accordingly to the knowledge of ethnic minorities situation, which he gained through being there, High Commissioner developed a report and the recommendations for the Lithuanian government.
Last year, on the position of the High Commissioner on National Minorities K. Vollabeak was replaced by Astrid Thors, who also aproves Polish minority in Lithuania in its ambitions to ensure a basic catalogue of rights appertained to ethnic minorities through the power of the international and European legal norms and good praxis.
This month, A. Thors stated in the letter addressed to Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania fraction that “I have precisely followed the situation of minority’s laws in Lithuania during the past three years, including the lingual rights. I have also transferd the recommendations concerning this case to the Government”.
Current High Commissioner of OSCE has also emphasised in the letter the meaning of harmonisation of Lithuanian law with the obligations took by Lithuania through the ratification of a general Convention about security of ethnic minorities.
“Significant, in this context, are two opinions of the Advisory Committee of general Convention about security of ethnic minorities, which hasten the Government to accommodate the domestic law frames, especially those involving the lingual rights of ethnic minorities, to the international obligations of country within the Convention” – High Commissioner wrote.
It is very important for Polish minority in Lithuanian that this process of editing the project of a bill about ethnic minorities and preparing to its acceptance is also carefully followed by the international organisations.
“I would like to ensure you that I precisely monitor the process of the bill project about ethnic minorities and I will still follow other changes concerning ethnic minorities – especially Polish minority – in Lithuania, under premises of my mandate. As we know, the security of ethnic minorities’ rights is not only an issue of lawmaking. Realisation of those rights in practice is also a very important factor” – A. Thors emphasised.
Bill concerning ethnic minorities has to be considered once again during the spring session of Lithuanian parliament.
The Office of The High Commissioner on National Minorities of OSCE was constituted in 1992. Its main mission is to supervise peace and prevent conflicts between European countries. Office came into being in connection with the ethnic conflicts in Central-Eastern Europe and Southern Europe.
Tłumaczenie by Beata Kanadys w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Beata Kanadys within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.