Europe must react to escalation of human rights violations in Lithuania

02/12/2013

ILGA-Europe is seriously concerned with the current developments and the state of human rights of LGBTI people in Lithuania.

On 26 November 2013, Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) voted to proceed with a consideration of an amendment to the country’s Code of Administrative Offences which aims to limit freedom of association, assembly and expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. Seimas members voted to consider this amendment despite the fact that the parliamentary Human Rights Committee suggested its rejection.

The amendment introduces administrative liability for “public denigration of constitutional moral values and of constitutional fundamentals of the family life, as well as organisation of public events contravening public morality”.

It was submitted to Seimas by its member Petras Gražulis in May 2013 in reaction to the Vilnius Baltic Pride 2013. Petras Gražulis is widely known by his openly homophobic and transphobic views and a number of discriminatory legislative initiatives.

Additionally to this amendment, there is a number of other discriminatory homophobic and transphobic legislative proposals on the agenda of Seimas:

- to ban gender reassignment

- to ban adoption by same-sex couples

- to amend Criminal Code to ensure that ‘criticism of homosexuality, does not constitute hate speech

Moreover, from March 2010, Lithuanian Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information, similar in its nature to infamous Russian anti-propaganda law, is in force. While the law does not explicitly refers to homosexuality, it bars ‘minors’ from receiving information about any type of sexual relationships, and seeks to protect the ‘traditional’ concept of family defined by the Constitution as based on the union between a man and a woman.

ILGA-Europe is calling on the Lithuanian parliamentarians to immediately abandon all proposed discriminatory and motivated by homophobia and transphobia legislative initiatives.

ILGA-Europe is calling on European institutions to react to the developments in Lithuania and to uphold the respect of fundamental European values and principle of respect, equality and fundamental rights for all in one of the Member State of the European Union and the Council of Europe.

Paulo Côrte-Real, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

“LGBTI human rights situation in Lithuania is very worrying. This country has a similar to Russia law since 2010 and currently there is a whole myriad of amendments aiming to restrict very basic human rights of LGBTI people piled up in the parliament.

We urge Europe to bring Lithuanian human rights situation to the spot light and react. It is unacceptable that European institutions remain silent about systematic homophobic and transphobic human rights violations.”

According to our Rainbow Europe’s Index (May 2013), Lithuania came 31st among 49 European countries in terms of laws and policies affecting the human rights of LGBTI people.

ILGA-Europe Lithuania page.

According to 2013 EU LGBT Survey conducted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Lithuania has the highest percentage of LGBT individuals in the EU who experienced discrimination, harassment and violence.

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