- June 23, 2014
The draft Law on National Minorities prepared by the conservatives
The Seimas Human Rights Committee approved changes proposed by the conservatives to their draft Law on National Minorities. According to their draft, the use of bilingual street and town names would be forbidden. However, members of national minorities would have the right to contact local authorities in oral form in their native language.
The MPs of Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the largest opposition party in the Seimas, prepared their own draft Law on National Minorities. It stipulates that the use of bilingual street and town names would be forbidden. The bill would include a provision that members of national minorities are obliged to abide by the Constitution, laws, and other legal acts, must protect and respect the sovereignty of the state, its undivided territory, official language, culture, tradition, and the customs of the Lithuanian nation.
The bill proposed by the conservatives allows members of national minorities to–should the need arise–contact local authorities of the area they are inhabiting in oral form in a language of the particular national minority. At the same time, government department and organizations have to keep office documentation in the state language.
One of the authors of the draft Law on National Minorities, the MP Valentinas Stundys, said that “the bill was changed from scratch, one could say, in the right direction.”
According to the draft submitted by the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, use of languages of national minorities–like Polish–in street and town naming, as well as in a contact with local minorities, would be allowed in areas densely populated by members of those minorities.
The draft Law on National Minorities was submitted by the EAPL was to be discussed in the Seimas on June 19. However, it was removed from the agenda in response to the proposal of the Social Democrats.
Based on: BNS, lrt.lt
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.