Lithuanian MPs want to amend citizenship law amid Litvak complaints

DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

The Seimas’ European Affairs Committee decided on Wednesday to set up a task force to draft amendments to the law.

The Law on Citizenship allows individuals who left Lithuania before March 11, 1990, to hold dual citizenship. However, the Migration Department and Lithuanian courts have been lately rejecting applications for restoration of citizenship rights from people who left Lithuania between 1918 and 1940.

In rejecting their citizenship applications, migration specialists refer to case law that says that citizenship can be restored only to individuals who left Lithuania before restoration of independence in 1990 for political reasons, resistance to occupation regimes or persecution by the regime. They say that Jews were not persecuted in the independent Lithuanian republic of the interwar years.

According to figures from the Migration Department, ten Litvaks were refused citizenship in 2014 and 76 in 2015. Ninety-seven received negative decisions in the first quarter of this year.

The Nazis, often assisted by their Lithuanian collaborators, massacred about 90% of the Lithuanian pre-war Jewish population of around 208,000 during World War Two.

The Israel-based Yad Vashem center of Holocaust studies has recognized more than 800 Lithuanians as Righteous Among the Nations for risking their lives to rescue Jews from the genocide.

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