NEDF: skeptics at the Parliament will not stop the development of equal opportunities in Lithuania | NLIF

NEDF: skeptics at the Parliament will not stop the development of equal opportunities in Lithuania

On November 25, 2014 the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas rejected yet another candidate for the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. The National Equality and Diversity Forum (NEDF) is concerned about the disrespect for fundamental human rights some Lithuanian parliamentarians demonstrate.

The rejection of yet another candidate for the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson in this parliamentary term reflects the prevailing intolerance to individual minority groups of the public and discredits Lithuania in the international human rights context.

NEDF notes that under European and Lithuanian Law, the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson is responsible for studying a variety of discrimination in respect of vulnerable groups and promoting of equal opportunities for all. Since 2010 The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson is charged with monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Therefore, for the continued stagnation and decisions taken by the state officials reflect the inability of Seimas to perform their direct duties.

We note that the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson takes no part in the establishment of the institute of same-sex partnership. Some parlamentarians escalated this issue to be considered as a political manipulation of public prejudices.

We urge the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee Chairman Mr. Leondard Talmont to take a proactive approach in bringing the members of Seimas on Lithuania’s commitments to international non-discrimination, gender equality and equal opportunities policies.

The National Equality and Diversity Forum will continue to actively cooperate with the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson and the European Network of Equality Bodies, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and other human rights authorities in educating the public on human rights issues, practical implementation of equal opportunities policies at both EU and national level.

National Equality and Diversity Forum Press Release