- September 8, 2015
Next picket in defence of education on Wednesday
Another statement has been issued regarding the picket that is going to take place on Wednesday (9 September) at 13:00 outside the Ministry of Justice. The organizers are: the Protest Committees of Polish Schools in Lithuania, the Parental Forum of Polish Schools in Lithuania, and the School Defence Committee. In theory, the rule of judicial independence stands in Lithuania. However, we cannot understand the behavior of the LR’s courts. For example: Szymon Konarski School and parents received a notification from the court’s office about Vilnius local government’s appeal to the court ruling regarding the suspension of the council’s resolution of 29 July 2015, along with the information that they have 14 days to take action.
Then, after four days, on 31 August 2015 at 16:30 representatives of the local-government informed the schools about the higher court ruling. This ruling left the council’s resolution in force. This is outrageous behaviour on the part of the judicial authorities. The parents and school communities did not get a chance to appeal against this ruling. The students, parents and the school have been left without the right to defend themselves. The right to defense is one of the main principles of the justice system. It allows participation in the hearing and the opportunity to indicate all the circumstances (evidence) during the judicial process. Also afforded is the right to counsel (a lawyer) to represent one’s interests. This law is protected by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, with the minimum guarantees of the right to protection indicated.
The school year began on 1 September with our children having no information about which school they should go to or how the school year is going to be. Especially complicated is the situation of the last grade (pol. klasa maturalna); its educational process is being unsettled at the very beginning of the school year. This is despicable and totally incomprehensible behaviour of the LR’s authorities, especially on the part of the Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, who is not being forced by law to commit such actions – instead, the Mayor acts of his own free will. The Ministry of Justice should protect the enforcement of law in the Lithuanian Republic, but it is doing nothing to solve this problem.
Regarding the above-mentioned situation, as a result of the discriminatory policy towards the schools of national minorities, infringement of the Lithuanian Republic Law by the authorities, as well as violations of international obligations by the authorities of the Lithuanian Republic, the parents do not see any other choice but to protest against this discrimination and injustice.
It is surprising that the first court decisions were positive – and that these decisions were made prior to the involvement of the media, which spoke negatively about the schools of national minorities, e.g. these negative influences altered the resolution of the City Council. After this, decisions were changed very quickly, without the applicable statutory deadlines.
Considering these facts, we would like to address our queries to the Minister of Justice, Juozas Bernatonis. We would like to see a thorough examination of the court cases related to the schools of national minorities, since there is reasonable suspicion that the hastily-made decisions were biased and highly politically-motivated.
Accordingly, on 9 September 2015 at 13:00, we are organizing a picket outside the Ministry of Justice.
Translated by Karolina Jarmużewska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.