- January 21, 2020
APL: Anti-Polish hysteria flared up in Lithuanian media
The Association of Poles in Lithuania took a position on the recently discussed issues regarding Minister of Communication Jarosław Narkiewicz. President Gitanas Nausėda said in an interview that the minister had employed 20 people associated with EAPL-CFA in companies subordinate to the ministry. In turn, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said in his speech that the president’s criticism towards Narkiewicz and the opposition could be considered discrimination on the grounds of nationality. Today, the chairpersons of APL branches issued their statement in this matter. We publish the content of the declaration in full.
Recently, a slanderous campaign has started in the media in Lithuania, which can be described as anti-Polish hysteria. It is regrettable that representatives of the highest authorities of our country are being dragged into this witch hunt. Unfortunately, such activities – following the civilised principles of coexistence of people of different nationalities, stipulated by national and international law – simply compromise these prominent representatives of the state both in Lithuania and internationally.
The example of the alleged employment of 20 people of Polish nationality by the minister of the Lithuanian government Jaroslaw Narkiewicz in subjects subordinate to the ministry cannot be overlooked. Both the falsehood of this information and the fact that it was publicly disclosed by the President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda should be deemed a misunderstanding. Said information was widely commented and discussed.
Ultimately, the reports from the Presidential Palace have not been confirmed. Among 500 individuals recruited under the new minister of communication, who does not hide his nationality, not 20 – as reported – but only 12 could be “tracked down” and assigned Polish nationality. In addition, they were employed not by the minister, but by heads of offices subordinate to the department.
The collection of similar statistics is a departure from the principle of non-discrimination based on nationality. Such practices run counter to Art. 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, stipulating that information about private life can only be collected based on a reasoned court decision and in accordance with the law that protects against unlawful interference in personal and family life. Each of the European Union countries has also adopted the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, which states that it is prohibited to process personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political views, religion or beliefs, etc.3
All Lithuanian citizens, including Poles, constitute the Lithuanian state, they work for it, and they have the right to feel safe and be protected by the state authorities of their homeland. Hence, there can be no consent to discrimination and slanderous practices based on nationality. Especially if they originate in state institutions.
We express our protest against such proceedings.
We believe, however, that the President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda will rise to the occasion and will be able to stop the anti-state practices aimed at discrimination against the citizens of Polish nationality.
Franciszka Abramowicz – president of the Kaunas Branch of APL
Zygfryd Binkiewicz – president of the Visaginas Branch of APL
Irena Duchowska – president of the ‘Lauda’ Branch APL
Ryszard Jankowski – president of the Vandžiogala Branch of APL
Alina Judžentienė – president of the Šilutė Branch of APL
Anna Łastowska – president of the Švenčionys District Branch of APL
Teresa Narkevičienė – president of the Zarasai District Branch of APL
Marek Kubiak – president of the Vilnius Municipal Branch of APL
Lulita Sulčienė – president of the Klaipėda Branch of APL
Stefania Tomaszun – president of the Širvintos District Branch of APL
Anna Jesvilienė – director of the Polish House in Eišiškės
Translated by Marta Bednarczyk within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.