Lithuanian Parliament bans ‘propaganda of homosexuality and bisexuality’

MEDIA RELEASE
17 June 2009
 
For immediate release
 
Lithuanian Parliament bans ‘propaganda of homosexuality and bisexuality’   
On 16 June 2009, the Seimas, Lithuanian parliament, in a final reading and with a great majority (67 votes for, 3 against and 4 abstained) adopted an amended Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. According to this law, ‘propaganda of homosexuality and bisexuality’ is one of the detrimental affects on the minors and information on homosexuality and bisexuality is banned from schools and any other places where it can be accessed by youth.
ILGA-Europe is dismayed about such a discriminatory and backward move by Lithuanian parliament. Lithuania now is the only country in Europe which has such discriminatory and stigmatising legislation. The revised Lithuanian law is the replica of the highly controversial section 28 of the 1986 UK Local Government Act which was repealed across the UK by 2003.
ILGA-Europe is distressed by this law which in effect institutionalises discrimination and reinforces stigmatisation of homosexuality and bisexuality. The law contradicts the principles of and the right to freely disseminate and receive information and views. It also seriously undermines the right to education and can have detrimental effects to young people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual as they are now officially banned from receiving any information and support.
Such a move by the Lithuanian parliament is also clearly against the non-discrimination principle enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights, the Fundamental Rights Charter of the European Union, and the UN Human Rights Treaties.
Linda Freimane, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:
“We are shocked that the Lithuanian legislator took such a regressive step in relation to combating discrimination. The experience in the UK with the very similar piece of legislation has already proven how this kind of legislation directly impacts LGB people generally and young LGB people in particular. So it is highly hypocritical of Lithuanian MPs to say that they are not targeting homosexual and bisexual people but they are only seeking to ensure ‘peace in the community.’“
Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe, Executive Board, adds:
“We call on the European institutions to react firmly and without delay. This is clearly a discriminatory and dangerous move which is against the principles of the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. Young people, including young LGB people, deserve the same dignity and the same right to be protected, educated, and have an opportunity to achieve their full potential. Instead a Member State of the European Union just legitimised exclusion and discrimination against a whole fraction of the society by instituting a second class citizenship status to young LGB people and ripped them off of any support and protection.”
For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375
Notes for editors:
(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & intersex people in Europe: www.ilga-europe.org
Juris Lavrikovs
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tel.: + 32 2 609 54 16
mob.: + 32 496 70 83 75
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