- November 30, 2016
The Polish Fraction: We want to have the right of the regular recording of our surnames
We think that such solution will bring even more chaos and will not give us the right of using our own surnames in proper forms – The Polish Fraction of the Lithuanian Freedom Union (the liberals) made a statement concerning the original spelling of surnames.
The new Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has stressed on several occasions that relations with Poland need to be improved. The issue of the original spelling of names has been a bone of contention in the Polish-Lithuanian relationship. The new ruling coalition announced that they would try to resolve this problem. A week ago he Union of Greens and Farmers suggested that on the main page of the passport should be a record of two versions of a surname – one using the Lithuanian alphabet and the other using any other alphabet. In official records only the Lithuanian version of the surname would be used.
The Polish Fraction of the Lithuanian Freedom Union does not agree with this proposal. The president of the Polish fraction is Zygmunt Klonowski. We publish the statement in its entirety:
The Polish Fraction of the Lithuanian Freedom Union is very concerned about the proposal of the Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on recording the original form of the surname as a second one, next to the distorted form on the first page of documents. We think that such solution will bring even more chaos and will not give us the right to dignity or the freedom of using our own surnames in proper forms. It will not eliminate a discriminatory practice of distorting of our surnames, introduced by the Soviet occupying power, it will only result in the antipathy towards the Government.
Such solution would be acceptable in case of surnames of persons from countries where the used alphabet is different than the Latin alphabet. In case of Polish surnames we expect that they will be recorded in the original form with all the letters and diacritics proper in Polish language – as it is allowed by the grammar of the Lithuanian language. We want to have the the right of the regular recording of our own surnames in public documents, as it is in case of Polish citizens of Lithuanian nationality – using all the letters and diacritics proper in our national language. Lithuanians in Poland have right to write their surnames using Lithuanian letters, such as č, ė, į, š, ų, ū, ž.
If solutions requested by the Prime Minister Skvernelis are adopted, we would be left only with a judicial way of regaining dignity, which would negatively affect the international image of the Republic of Lithuania.
Translated by Agnieszka Drabik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.