Lithuanian Government respond to CoE on gay rights

Any peaceful demonstrations, including those of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals, cannot be prohibited just because some people are hostile to their rights. The state’s responsibility is to guarantee that all legally organized demonstrations are peaceful, Lietuvos rytas daily reported.
These were the sentiments expressed by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg where they discussed an official inquiry by Luxembourg parliamentarian, Jean Huss regarding the restriction of the right of self-expression of homosexuals in Lithuania.
The Lithuanian representative defended himself
This is the first time in fifteen years that members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have been worried about the situation in Lithuania and raised a question to the Committee of Ministers.
While speaking yesterday at the meeting, the permanent representative of Lithuania to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Neris Germanas assured members that the inquiry by the Luxembourg parliamentarian would be considered.
Neris Germanas also noted that Lithuania is ready for discussions regarding the situation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals in the country, and he stated that Lithuanian laws prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation.
The politician spoke strictly
Jean Huss reminded members that when entering the Council of Europe in 1993, Lithuania was committed to respect human rights and basic freedoms.
However, the actions of the municipality of the City of Vilnius seriously violated the rights of sexual minorities.
The parliamentarian highlighted three actions evidencing this violation: the prohibition of the right to display posters on a trolleybus with material encouraging tolerance of sexual minorities, the prohibition of the EU anti-discrimination truck in Vilnius, and the prohibition of the right to display the pro-gay rainbow flag in the Town Square.
The well-informed parliamentarian also mentioned a new addition to the City Cleaning and Maintenance Rules adopted by Vilnius City Council, which provides for the possibility to disallow organization of events in public places.
The parliamentarian asked the Committee of Ministers directly, what actions were planned to be taken in order to have human rights truly respected in Lithuania.
Does not know how to influence the Mayor
After receiving strict documents from Strasbourg, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania forwarded them to the Mayor of Vilnius, Juozas Imbrasas.
“We are unable to change anything. I do not know what else could be done to influence them”, Head of the Human Rights Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Darius Staniulis admitted.
He stressed that until now, the Council of Europe had considered Lithuania as a state that respected human rights.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe consists of ministers of foreign affairs or their representatives from all member states of the Council of Europe.
The conclusions of the Committee can be presented as recommendations to the governments of member states.
Gay lobbyists abuzz
Chairman of the Lithuanian Gay League, Vladimir Simonko is sure that the meeting in Strasbourg is a serious signal to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania to commit to work in the sphere of human rights.
Vladimir Simonko said that the letter from the Luxembourg parliamentarian is the outcome of lobbying by the International Lesbian and Gay Association.