UPR of Lithuania: progress on gender equality but concerns over prison conditions
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 14:19

On 11th October 2011, Lithuania presented its report on its human rights situation to the UPR Working Group.  The delegation of nine was headed by the Minister of Justice of Lithuania, Mr Remigius Simasius who provided most of the comments, with input also from Vice-Minister of Culture, Mr Stanislav Vidtmann.


In his opening statement, Mr Simasius noted a range of stakeholders including the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education and Science, and human rights NGOs contributed to the preparation of the Lithuania report.  He particularly highlighted Lithuania’s achievements in human rights, placing them within the context of Lithuania gaining independence in 1990 and its challenges in modernising the legal system and establishing a number of institutions to counter the legacy of the Soviet regime in denying basic rights and freedoms.  Mr Simasius drew particular attention to the establishment of three independent ombudsmen to protect human rights, including an Ombudsman for Children’s Rights and an Ombudsman for Equal Opportunities, and the progress made in ensuring gender equality.  In 2008 Provisions on non-discrimination based on gender were added into the Law on Equal Opportunities and according to Mr Simasius women now hold two of the top three administration posts (President, and Seimas [parliament] Spokesperson), and account for 40% of all managerial staff. Mr Simasius also acknowledged the need for improvements in prison conditions, especially modernising prisons and reducing overcrowding.  


States made the following comments and recommendations:

  • Calls to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and of their Families, the Convention Against Torture, and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons Against Enforced Disappearance.
  • Recommendations to establish a national human rights institution in accordance with the Principles Relating to the Status of National Institutions (the Paris Principles).
  • Calls to intensify efforts to reduce human trafficking by renewing the invitation to the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking of Persons to visit Lithuania.
  • Recommendations to renew its invitation to the Human Rights Council special procedures to visit Lithuania.
  • Acknowledgement of Lithuanian efforts in the areas of gender equality, human trafficking, violence against women, and support for human rights defenders and activists who take refuge in Lithuania.
  • Recommendations to ease the naturalisation procedure by reducing the language requirement.
  • Calls to intensify the fight against social stereotyping that cultivate prejudices against national minorities.
  • Requests to support and develop education programs and institutions for national minorities.
  • Requests to continue to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • Calls to increase enforcement measures of child protection.
  • Calls to cooperate closer with civil society on human rights issues.
  • Requests to expand competences and role of human rights offices.
  • Calls to take action to avoid discrimination based on sexual preference and gender identity.
  • Calls to improve prison conditions.

Mr Simasius regretted that he was not able to answer all questions posed by States.  Responding to numerous concerns, Mr Simasius observed that Article 4(1)(14) of the Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, which prohibits the dissemination of information promoting homosexual, bisexual, or polygamous relations on the grounds of having a ‘detrimental effect on the development of minors’, had been removed in the recently revised version of the law. In response to concerns about discrimination of Roma in Lithuania, Mr Vidtmann (Vice Minister of Culture) noted the complexities of integrating the 2,500 Roma in Lithuania and drew attention to the draft Inter-institutional Action Plan for Roma Integration into the Lithuanian Society currently awaiting approval.  Mr Simasius further denied the Russian Federation’s allegation that Lithuania was falsifying history and rejected its recommendation to Lithuania to stop attempts to revise interpretations of the outcomes of the Second World War and its persecutions of anti-fascist veterans. 


During the adoption of the report, 43 recommendations out of a total of 120 were accepted by Lithuania, with a further 53 recommendations already considered as being implemented or in the process of being implemented. Only one recommendation was rejected and the remaining 23 recommendations were pending further consideration and would be decided upon prior to the 19th session of the Human Rights Council. Mr Tomas Vaitkevicius, Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Justice, provided the concluding remarks and stipulated that the UPR can only be a meaningful process if it is conducted in a transparent, non-confrontational, and non-politicised manner. 

© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018