On February 28th Robert Biedroń participated in a press conference at the Lithuanian parliament. R. Biedroń is the general rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). He is a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and its Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination since 2011, as well as a member of the Polish Sejm, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee of Justice and Human Rights and a member of the committee of Foreign Affairs at the Sejm.
R. Biedroń started the press conference sharing some impressions he got during the meetings with various Lithuanian organizations. The general rapporteur emphasized that he can see much room for improvement. However, he highlighted the potential which he encountered in Lithuania. R. Biedroń noted that discussions about the current situation and a better activists’ visibility show that positive processes have already started.
When talking about the negative aspects of situation in Lithuania he referred to the amendments to the Lithuanian Code of Administrative Offences which are still under consideration, and highlighted their resemblance to Russia’s homophobic legislation which is “seriously violating human rights”. R. Biedroń also talked about the necessity for a better cooperation between the government and society. He has finished the conference saying “We have enough of homophobia in Europe, and its time to change that”.
Before the press conference, on February 27th, R. Biedroń had a meeting with Lithuania’s NGO representatives at the LGBT centre in Vilnius. Members of Lithuanian Gay League, Tolerant Youth Association, Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights and the Centre For Equality Advancement participated in the meeting. At the meeting R. Biedroń gave an overview of his tasks at the Council of Europe as the general rapporteur and presented what he sees as the priority areas at the moment: necessity to abolish the newly adopted the Russian Federation’s legislation on the so-called homo-propaganda; necessity to fully implement decisions of the European Court of Human Rights; necessity to eliminate discrimination against transgender people, i.e. discrimination on the grounds of gender identity; the need to increase the visibility of lesbian and bisexual women in Europe.
R. Biedroń’s presentation was followed by questions and a brief discussion on the strategies for fighting inequality and discrimination.
R. Biedroń’s visit aimed at taking a stock of the situation of LGBT people in Lithuania. As a general rapporteur, he will report his findings to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.