CESCR Concluding observations on Lithuania (excerpts on Roma), 2014

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C. Principal subjects of concerns and recommendations

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Social exclusion of and discrimination against Roma

7. The Committee remains concerned at the lack of progress achieved in addressing the social exclusion of Roma and discrimination against Roma in the enjoyment of their rights under the Covenant, particularly in the areas of housing, health, employment and education. While noting the adoption of various programmes and action plans on the integration of Roma, the Committee regrets the lack of resources allocated for their effective implementation, particularly between 2008 and 2010 (art. 2).

Noting that the State party will adopt a new Roma integration strategy in 2015, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that:

(a) The strategy contains concrete objectives and benchmarks and a regular monitoring and evaluation mechanism to periodically assess the results obtained in improving the socioeconomic situation of Roma, particularly in the areas of housing, health, employment and education;

(b) Adequate financial and human resources are allocated for its implementation; and

(c) Members of the Roma community actively participate in its design, implementation and evaluation, as rights-holders.

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Right to housing

17. The Committee expresses its concern that, despite the measures taken to improve housing standards, such as the Rural Development Programme, more than 29 per cent of conventional dwellings in the State party still lack access to basic facilities and amenities, such as hot water, a bath or shower, a toilet, piped water, sewerage and heating. It also expresses its particular concern at the housing situation of marginalized and disadvantaged groups, including the high number in the Roma population who do not have access to hot water, sewerage, a bathtub, a shower or a toilet, and the increasing number of homeless persons seeking shelter. The Committee further expresses its concern at the acute shortage of social housing, with an average waiting time of 10 to 15 years (arts. 2 and 11).

The Committee urges the State party to ensure that its national housing policy prioritizes the needs of marginalized and vulnerable groups who lack access to adequate housing and basic facilities and amenities, such as low-income families, homeless persons and Roma, and to allocate sufficient resources for its effective implementation. In particular, the Committee calls upon the State party to proceed swiftly with its commitment to legalize the Kirtimai settlement in Vilnius without further delay, so as to ensure the right to adequate housing for the Roma population concerned. It further draws the attention of the State party to its general comment No. 4 (1991) on the right to adequate housing, its general comment No. 15 (2002) on the right to water, and its statement on the right to sanitation (E/C.12/2010/1).

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Right to education

23. The Committee expresses its concern at the gap in student achievement between urban and rural areas, and regrets the lack of disaggregated and comparative data on enrolment and dropout rates among schoolchildren that was requested in its previous concluding observations. It also expresses its concern that the amendments to the Law on Education adopted in March 2011 have led to restrictions on the use of national minority languages in State-funded national minority schools and in the State examination. The Committee further expresses its concern at the situation of Roma, particularly with regard to their low educational attainment, high dropout rates, and placement in special education schools (arts. 2, 13 and 14).

The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Identify the causes of the gap in student achievement between rural and urban areas and take effective measures in this regard;

(b) Establish a data collection mechanism to monitor effectively the dropout rates among schoolchildren, with a view to identifying the causes and ensuring that children complete their primary and secondary education;

(c) Ensure that national minorities are able to enjoy their right to education in their own language, including by amending the provisions of the Law on Education that have led to restrictions on the use of national minority languages in State-funded national minority schools, including when taking State examinations;

(d) Take effective measures, including temporary special measures, to ensure that all Roma children complete their basic education, including through awareness-raising campaigns among the Roma community concerning the importance of education to the future well-being of children; and

(e) Ratify the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education.

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Document data: E/C.12/LTU/CO/2 adopted 23.05.2014, published 24.06.2014. Link:https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=E/C.12/LTU/CO/2&Lang=En Also available in the other UN official languages

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