Within the framework of the project “Review of the Implementation of the Council of Europe Recommendation on LGBT Rights CM/Rec(2010)5″, the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL has developed the second documentation report on implementing the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 in Lithuania. The process will be used not only to document measures that remain to be implemented, but also to engage the Lithuanian Government to participate in the process through filling in the review questionnaire by the Council of Europe. The proposed documentation and advocacy activities will seek to generate long-term changes in the selected priority areas, namely (a) “anti-gay propaganda” legislation, (b) legal recognition of same-sex relationships, (c) legal gender recognition and (d) effective response to anti-LGBT hate crimes and hate speech. The project is funded by the international organization ILGA-Europe (Ref. No. C-COM-II-08).
What is the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5?
In March, 2010 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, i.e. the first Europe-wide instrument dealing specifically with sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The Recommendation sets out how international human rights standards apply to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, recognizes the seriousness of discrimination against them, and agrees on a wide range of measures that Member States should implement to combat this discrimination. Although the Recommendation itself is not a legally binding document, it is solidly based on Member States’ existing binding human rights obligations and carries a strong moral obligation on Governments to implement its detailed measures, not least because each of the Member States has agreed to the text. The first review process of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 took place in 2013. Shadow reporting by the civil society organizations ensured that the process gained importance and provided a lot of relevant information. The current documentation report on monitoring the implementation of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 in Lithuania is a part of the second follow-up exercise and seeks to feed into the broader pan-European effort to contribute to the ambitious objective of the full implementation of the Recommendation in all Member States.
What we are trying to achieve with this project?
Despite the challenging legal and social situation of LGBT persons in Lithuania, significant advancements on LGBT human rights recently have been made through strategic litigation efforts before the national and international courts. The Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 has served as a soft law measure informing the strategic litigation process both in terms of identifying relevant legal gaps and encouraging the courts to apply the European standards in responding to these legal challenges. The first documentation report on monitoring the implementation of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 in Lithuania, produced by LGL in 2013, assisted the organization in developing its evidence-based advocacy and impact litigation strategies. The second documentation report seeks to enable the organization to forward its advocacy agenda on the national level, especially taken into account that its priorities are already supported by the ongoing strategic litigation efforts. While the second documentation report covers all thematic areas outlined in the Appendix of the Recommendation, it specifically focuses on the following priority areas, namely: (a) “anti-gay propaganda” legislation (freedom of expression), (b) legal recognition of same-sex relationships (right to respect for family life), (c) legal gender recognition (right to respect for private life) and (d) effective response to anti-LGBT hate crimes and hate speech (right to life, security and protection from violence). The main purpose of the second documentation report is to demonstrate the failure by the Lithuanian authorities in implementing the necessary protections for LGBT people in these particular areas and thus to support the ongoing advocacy and strategic litigation efforts. By documenting the extent to which the Recommendation’s measures remain to be implemented in Lithuania, the reporting organization will be able to better inform its efforts based on the standards by the Council of Europe. The second documentation report does not reveal absolutely new gaps in implementing the Recommendation. However, it serves as an effective tool to monitor the progress (in comparison to the first documentation report) and as a repeated reminder to the Lithuanian Government on what remains to be done.
How we are going to do it?
The second documentation report on monitoring the implementation of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 in Lithuania closely follows the internal structure of the Recommendation and its Annex. The report briefly discusses the implementation of the broader recommendations set out in the Operative Part of the Recommendation and then provides more detailed information regarding the thematic areas outlined in the Appendix. Each section is concluded by corresponding recommendations to the national authorities with the view of ensuring better implementation of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 at the national level. it is expected that the information contained in this report will supplement the information provided by the Government and will enable more detailed and nuanced assessment on the status of implementation of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 in Lithuania. The methodology on documenting the implementation of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 in Lithuania combined both the primary and secondary documentation activities.
The project is supported by ILGA-Europe’s Human Rights Violations Documentation Fund.