- June 19, 2014
The Lithuanian Seimas removes a draft bill on national minorities from the agenda
On Thursday, Seimas removed two draft bills from the agenda: a draft Law on National Minorities that is supposed to regulate bilingual signs in town densely populated by ethnic minorities, and a draft Law on the Spelling of Names and Surnames. The former was removed in response to the proposal of the ruling Social Democrats, while the latter was removed in response to the proposal of the conservatives.
“That formed majority of left- and right-wingers doesn’t actually care about the situation of many citizens of Lithuania. The rejection of the bill and the refusal to consider it mean that you avoid finding a way to solve the problem. By not allowing the bill to be read, you’re contradicting yourselves and, above all, deceiving Lithuanian citizens,” Jarosław Narkiewicz of the AWPL (Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania), Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, said.
The ruling party has repeatedly pledged support for the draft Law on National Minorities by its coalition partner, AWPL, yet it was never submitted to the Seimas. On Thursday, the Social Democrats unanimously supported the removal of the draft law from the agenda. The draft law initiated by Jarosław Narkiewicz, which was backed by the Seimas in the first reading in 2010, stipulates the revival of the previous Law on National Minorities.
The Seimas was also supposed to discuss two alternative draft Laws on the Spelling of Names and Surnames. The Social Democrats’ bill drafted by Irena Šiaulienė and Gediminas Kirkilas stipulates that non-Lithuanian names will be spelled in their original form on the main passport page.
The bill drafted by a group of Seimas members under the leadership of Homeland Union’s Valentinas Stundys stipulates the names with non-Lithuanian diacritics will be spelled in their original form on a separate passport page.
Tłumaczenie by Michał M. Kowalski w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Michał M. Kowalski within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.