• December 6, 2019
  • 173

Could ‘Anna’ appear in a Lithuanian passport? The Ministry of Justice will refer to the Constitutional Court

The Ministry of Justice will ask the Constitutional Court for an interpretation on the spelling of non-Lithuanian names in identity documents and is considering the possibility of changing the legal acts that regulate spelling.

At present, registry offices and migration departments refuse to register names such as Anna, Leyla, Ellana, Estella in documents, and those who want to include such a form in their documents must always go to court. Courts, in turn, form a practice favorable to the spelling of such names.

“We think that an ambiguous situation has arisen, and it is not good that we force our people to go to court and only then with the help of court do they get what they want. We will refer to the Constitutional Court on the spelling of names in Latin letters,” said Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius.

A discussion on this topic was organized at the ministry on Friday – linguists and social activists advocating the Lithuanian spelling of names emphasize the constitutional status of the Lithuanian state language, and consider possible spelling liberalization as a threat to the language.

Meanwhile, specialists in civil registry offices and human rights defenders emphasize that current legal acts limit the personal freedoms provided for in the Constitution based on nationality and language, as well as the right to free movement. They call for specific exceptions when names in identity documents could be written not according to the Lithuanian language principles.

Translated by Oskar Pytka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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