On January 15th the Board of Parliament signed the decision to send the delegation on a business trip to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – one of the continent’s leading organizations for defending human rights in 47 countries. The members of the delegation will be the chair of the Lithuanian parliament delegation MP Birutė Vėsaitė, MP Petras Gražulis, MP Gediminas Jakavonis, MP Algis Kašėta, and MP Emanuelis Zingeris. The Assembly is starting on January 27th in Strasbourg, France.
One of the members of the delegation, MP Petras Gražulis, is the effusive leader of the opponent against LGBT rights in Lithuania. In 2010 and 2013 he was the one leading the fight to ban Baltic Pride parades in Vilnius. He has also introduced numerous draft laws in the parliament to limit LGBT rights, including the most recent proposal to remove the protection against anti-LGBT hate speeches or discrimination. That proposal already passed the second reading and was approved in two committees.
Gražulis has apparently signed a pledge to defend the principles and goals of the Council of Europe, including the freedom of assembly and expression. At the same time in a comment to DELFI, Gražulis boasted about his future work in the Council: “If someone there is afraid of saying something in defense of traditional values then I’ll do it. I’m not afraid to speak clearly and directly.” Gražulis told DELFI that he “speaks and understands a bit of English.”
So it seems the MP can do both – proposing discriminatory legal acts in Lithuania one week and the following one participating in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to defend human rights.