Lithuanian NGOs Urge the Ministry of Education to Overlook Upcoming Sexuality Education Program

Lithuanian Non-governmental youth, human rights and women’s organizations appealed to Audronė Pitrėnienė, the Minister of Education of the Republic of Lithuania, about an upcoming sexuality education program which, in their stated opinion, is unsuitable for today’s reality and lacks scientific basis.

As the letter addressed to Minister of Education Audronė Pitrėnienė reads, the draft program discussed by the current working group does not provide children and adolescents with high-quality information which will enable them to develop responsible, fulfilling interpersonal relationships and practice safe sexual relations in the future.

According to the authors, the upcoming program should focus on providing age-appropriate and scientifically proven information to students – it should not attempt to distort reality with biased, negative information that employs ineffective tactics of intimidation and does not offer solutions to problems.

In their letter, the organizations emphasized that students have the right to high-quality, realistic, and science-based education which respects human rights in any field, including that of sexuality; therefore, in order to develop a suitable sexuality education program, it is important to take into account the successful experiences other countries have had in implementing sexuality education programs.

The signatories call for the Minister of Education to dedicate sufficient attention to this area and develop an alternative sexuality education program based on human rights, scientific fact, and programs that have seen success in other countries.

In the letter addressed to Minister Audronė Pitrėnienė, the organizations also expressed concern about her public claim yesterday that sexuality education based on scientific proof and human rights is influenced by business interests. The Minister has been asked to explain the factual basis on which she publicly made this declaration.

The appeal to Minister of Education Audronė Pitrėnienė was signed by the following organizations:

Support foundation „Youth line“; association „In Corpore“; coalition „I Can Live“; Lithuanian Liberal Youth; Lithuanian Psychology Students’ Association; Lithuanian Social Democratic Youth Association; Lithuanian Human Rights Center; Center for Equality Advancement; Family Planning and Sexual Health Association; Tolerant Youth Association; „House of Diversity and Education“; Association for women affected by HIV and AIDS “Demetra”; Human Rights Monitoring Institute; Charity and support foundation “Frida”; Lithuanian Women’s Lobby Organization; Parents of LGBT* children’s information and support group; National Nongovernmental Development Cooperation Organizations’ Platform; Coalition of human rights organizations (Lithuanian Human Rights Center, Lithuanian Gay League, Tolerant Youth Association, “Mental health perspectives”, Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community Association, “Romani community center”, Center for Equality Advancement); Kaunas Country Women’s Crisis Center; Association “Women’s activity and innovation center”; Association “Kaunas Women’s Line”, Social Innovation Foundation; European Innovation Center, Kretinga Women’s Information and Training Center; Lithuanian agency “SOS children” department of Panevėžys; Association “Kaunas Women’s Company”; Anykščiai Women’s Employment and Information Center; Tauragė Women’s Employment and Information Center; NGO Women’s Issues Information Center; NGO “Branda”; Association “Women’s Information Center”; Women’s Activity Center of Marijampolė County; Panevėžys Women’s Employment and Information Center; Women’s NGO network ReGina

The letter was sent to the Minister by electronic and traditional post.