Yesterday Republic of Lithuania Seimas (parliament) after holding discussions approved the draft law amending Law on Equal Opportunities No. XP-2384 (6*) EU), containing the amendments passed during the meeting. During the discussions, the proposal made by MP Egidijus Klumbys was approved, by which the concept “on the basis of age, sexual orientation, social status, disability, race or ethnicity, religion, beliefs or faith” used in articles 1, 2, 4–9, 11 and 13 of the draft law was replaced by the concept from the Constitution worded as “on the basis of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, religion, convictions, or opinions”.
Lithuanian Gay League would like to point out that such an amendment considerably narrows the application of the non-discrimination principle in Lithuania, because it does not mention three important bases of the EU anti-discrimination policy, i.e. age, disability, and sexual orientation. The European Community Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union name the aforementioned items important for most citizens among the prohibited bases for discrimination.
Directive 2000/78/EC obligates governments to ensure that people complaining of discriminatory behaviour in their respect based on their age, disability and sexual orientation should have the right to get support and be represented by relevant trade unions or expert organisations or associations. Furthermore, governments must guarantee that the sanctions imposed in cases of discrimination are effective and proportionate, and that they do not encourage any further discrimination. In other words, sanctions for discriminative behaviour must be related to the damage done and be a means discouraging such discriminative behaviour.
We hereby encourage parliament members in their next meeting to pass such amendments to Law on Equal Opportunities, which include all types of discrimination listed in article 13 of the European Community Treaty, including the fields of education, social security, health care and opportunities to use goods and services, and to guarantee application of the non-discrimination principle to the widest possible number of the country’s population, rather than restrict human rights based on people’s age, disability, and sexual orientation.