NEDF Invited to Seminar-Discussion “Human Rights in Lithuania. NGOs’ Perspective”

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, the members of the National Equality and Diversity Forum (NEDF) invited to the seminar-discussion “Human Rights in Lithuania. NGOs’ Perspective”, which took place on December 9th, 2015 at 2:00-4:30 PM at the premises of the Embassy of Finland. In the course of the seminar-discussion the representatives of the civil society discussed human rights issues under the present day conditions leading to the discrimination of vulnerable groups in the society.

During the event “Human Rights in Lithuania. NGOs’ Perspective” the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute Natalija Bitiukova presented the results of the “Eurobarometer” survey “Discrimination in the EU 2015”. According to the residents of Lithuania, sexual orientation (57 %), age (50 %) and gender identity (46 %) are amongst the most common grounds of discrimination. Nevertheless, even 50 % of the respondents of the survey are of an opinion that it is not a necessity for LGB people to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as heterosexual people do.

In the meanwhile, the President of the Lithuanian Forum of the Disabled (LFD) Dovilė Juodkaitė revealed the opportunities within the UN human rights protection mechanisms with the view of ensuring effective implementation of human rights standards in Lithuania. The Republic of Lithuania has already ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities back in 2010. However, a striking gap between theory and practice in relation to the rights enshrined in the Convention is still apparent. “The issues and the needs of people with disabilities are not appreciated enough under the circumstances of the present general conditions”, says the LFD President Dovilė Juodkaitė.

The third topic within the seminar was related to the implementation of the right to legal gender recognition and the right to gender reassignment treatment on the national level. It was covered by the Policy Coordinator (Human Rights) of the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL Tomas V. Raskevičius. The speaker focused on compliance of national legal norms and practices with international standards in the context of the rights of transgender people. This will not only lead the way of the implementation of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of L. v. Lithuania, but will also ensure transparent, quick and accessible procedure of gender reassignment in the Republic of Lithuania.

The participants of the event were welcomed by the Ombudsperson of the Equal Opportunities Agneta Lobačevskytė and the Counsellor of the Ambassador of Finland in Lithuania and Belarus Maria Ågren. The discussion was moderated by the Head of the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights Birutė Sabatauskaitė.

The event was partially funded by the Ministry of the Social Security and Labour of the Republic of the Lithuania, ILGA-Europe and TGEU – Transgender Europe.