Lithuania: National equality body draws a line between "LGB" and "T"

Published: May 13, 2011

Recently the Human Rights Committee of the Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) discussed the annual report (for 2010) of the office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman and the appeal by the Lithuanian Gay League to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman ‘On implementation of Gender Recast Directive (2006/54/EC) with respect to transgender people.’

Vladimir Simonko, Chairman of the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL), noted that the deteriorating situation of LGBT people has not changed in Lithuania. ‘This was also confirmed by the Agency for Fundamental Rights in its conclusions about the situation in the country,’ Vladimir Simonko said at the meeting.

In response to the opinions voiced by the Chairman of LGL, Aušrin? Burneikien?, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman stated that ‘we may discuss the situation of homosexuals, but please note that the directive regarding trans people is only a guidance for Member States.’

According to Ms Burneikien?, the rights of homosexuals are worldwide treated separately from the problems of transsexuals: ‘If there are homosexual rights, there are problems in the case of trans people. Transsexuality is a disease,’ the main defender of equal opportunities in the country emphasised at the meeting.

Vladimir Simonko pointed out that in one of the landmark cases the European Court of Justice clearly allocated a violation of trans people rights under EU gender equality legislation.

‘In Europe this issue is still pending, there is on-going discussion as to whether the issue of trans people can be attributed to the issues of gender equality. But what is quite clear now and what has been categorically stated, is that the problems of trans people cannot be put together with the rights of homosexuals,’ Ms Burneikien? stated.

‘Should we understand that there is nothing to be done in Lithuania on this issue?’ Dalia Kuodyt?, openly surprised Member of the Committee, asked Equal Opportunities Ombudsman.

Gediminas Andriukaitis, Director of the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights, summarised, ‘I can agree that rapid backward steps are being made in Lithuania in the area of human rights.’

‘Assessing the report of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, I note that the same conclusions and recommendations have been made for the past three years,’ Mr. Andriukaitis said expressing disappointment with the work of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman.

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