Law on Ethnic Minorities
(1989, as amended through 29 January 1991)
The Lithuanian SSR shall guarantee to all its citizens regardless of ethnicity equal political, economic, and social rights and freedoms, shall recognize its citizens' ethnic identity, the continuity of their culture, and shall promote ethnic consciousness and the expression thereof.
People of all ethnic groups residing in Lithuania must observe the Basic Law of the Lithuanian SSR and others laws, protect Lithuania's state sovereignty and territorial integrity, contribute to the establishment of an independent, democratic state in Lithuania, and respect Lithuania's state language, culture, traditions, and customs.
The Lithuanian SSR, adhering to the principles of ethnic equality and humanism, shall guarantee to all ethnic minorities residing in Lithuania the right to freely develop, and shall respect every ethnic minority and language.
Any discrimination with regard to race, ethnicity or nationality, language or anything else related to ethnicity shall be prohibited and punished under the procedures provided by the laws of the Lithuanian SSR.
The state shall provide equal protection for all the citizens of the Lithuanian SSR, regardless of ethnicity.
The Lithuanian SSR, taking into account the interests of all ethnic minorities shall guarantee them the right under the law and the procedures thereunder:
- to obtain aid from the state to develop their culture and education;
- to have schooling in one's native language, with provision for preschool education, other classes, elementary and secondary school education, as well as provision for groups, faculties and departments at institutions of higher learning to train teachers and other specialists needed by ethnic minorities;
- to have newspapers and other publications and information in one's native language;
- to profess any or no religion, and to perform religious or folk observances in one's native language;
- to form ethnic cultural organizations;
- to establish contact with persons of the same ethnic background abroad;
- to be represented in government bodies at all levels on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage; and
- to hold any post in the bodies of state power or government, as well as in enterprises, institutions or organizations.
Depending on demand and [economic] capacity, Lithuanian institutions of higher learning and specialized secondary schools, through contract with state and public organizations, shall train specialists to respond to the needs of particular ethnic cultures.
When necessary, citizens of Lithuania may be sent abroad to study.
In offices and organizations located in areas serving substantial numbers of a minority with a different language, the language spoken by that minority shall be used in addition to the Lithuanian language.
Signs used in the areas indicated in Article 4 of this law may be in the Lithuanian language and in the language used by that minority.
Historical and cultural monuments of ethnic minorities shall be considered part of the cultural heritage of Lithuania and shall be protected by the state.
Cultural organizations of ethnic minorities shall also have the right to establish educational and cultural institutions on their account. The state shall provide aid to organizations and institutions that serve these minorities' educational and cultural purposes.
Every citizen of the Lithuanian SSR upon obtaining a passport shall be free to identify his ethnicity on the basis of the nationality of his parents or of one of his parents.
Public and cultural organisations of ethnic minorities shall be established, shall function, and shall be dissolved or terminated according to the procedures established by law.
Public committees of ethnic minorities may be established through the Supreme Soviet and Local Soviets of People's Deputies of the Lithuanian SSR. The composition of such committees shall be coordinated with the public organisations of such ethnic minorities. The powers of these committees shall be established by the bodies that form them.
Under the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR, a Committee on Ethnic Minorities shall be established to address the social and cultural needs of ethnic minorities.
Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian SSR
Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the
23 November 1989
Source: Legal Information Center at the Ministry of Justice