HCNM statement to the 920th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council (excerpt on Lithuania), 2012

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Since I last reported to you in November, I have made several visits to Poland and Lithuania to address minority issues affecting internal and bilateral political relations. In Lithuania, minority representatives have shared their concerns with me regarding changes to the education system and their ability to use minority languages in the public sphere. I have encouraged the Government of Lithuania to address the legal vacuum created by the lapse of the Law on Ethnic Minorities in 2010 and to ensure that the new Law on Education is implemented in consultation with national minorities and that it guarantees high-quality education in minority schools, including in mother-tongue education. In Poland, the Lithuanian minority is particularly concerned about maintaining opportunities for education in their mother tongue, including adequate provision of textbooks in the Lithuanian language. I have encouraged the Government to address these concerns proactively. I have reminded the Governments of both Poland and Lithuania that protection and promotion of minority rights is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the State in which the minority resides. Decisions concerning national minorities should be guided by relevant international standards and should not refer to reciprocity. I believe both Poland and Lithuania would benefit from an enhanced dialogue on national minority issues.

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Document data: 12.07.2012 Link: https://www.osce.org/hcnm/92334?download=true

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