This week LGL has submitted a report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding the article 12 on the right to protection of health. In the report LGL has commented on the current situation in Lithuania regarding access by transgender persons to gender reassignment treatment. In the report LGL states that for those Lithuanian transgender persons who need gender reassignment treatment, access is effectively prevented by three separate factors: an absence of legislation regulating gender reassignment procedures; an absence of medical facilities in Lithuania; and a failure by the state to contribute to the cost of reassignment treatment.
The absence of legislation regulating comprehensive gender reassignment procedures was the subject of a judgment by the European Court of Human Rights in L v. Lithuania case. The Court concluded that the applicant’s inability to complete gender reassignment treatment in Lithuania as a consequence of the lack of the subsidiary legislation violated his right to private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Regarding the absence of medical facilities for gender reassignment treatment in Lithuania, the European Court of Human Rights commented in L v. Lithuania that until the subsidiary legislation discussed above is enacted, “no suitable medical facilities appear to be reasonably accessible or available in Lithuania”. Since no law has been adopted that would establish gender reassignment conditions and procedures, there is no legal basis for transgender persons to lawfully access endocrinological or surgical treatment.
So far as recovery of costs is concerned, while access to psychiatric care for transgender persons may be covered, the coverage of costs of other medical services related to gender reassignment (e.g. hormonal or surgical treatment) is not possible without the adoption of the subsidiary legislation.
In its report LGL has concluded that the concomitant failure of the Lithuanian authorities to provide adequate medical facilities for gender reassignment treatment (or the alternative of such treatment abroad), and to ensure that medical insurance covers, or contributes to the coverage of important elements of such medically necessary treatment, on a non-discriminatory basis, are further evidence that Lithuania does not meet the requirement to provide effective access to health care for all, without discrimination.
You can access the full text of the report here.
The report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a part of the advocacy activities which are implemented as a part of the project “Towards Practical Implementation of LGBT* Rights in Lithuania” which is supported by the NGO Programme Lithuania funded by EEA Grants .