Article 16 – Right of the family to social, legal and economic protection
Measures in favour of vulnerable families
In its previous conclusion (Conclusions 2015) the Committee asked what measures were taken to ensure the economic protection of Roma families. In this respect, the Committee takes note of activities implemented under the measures ’Integrated Services for Families’ and ’Social Integration of Roma’, financed from the ESF. It also notes that the Action Plan for the Integration of Roma for 2015-2020 also includes a measure on labour market integration with a view to avoiding social exclusion.
Article 17 – Right of children and young persons to social, legal and economic protection
Paragraph 1 – Assistance, education and training
The Committee takes note of the information contained in the report submitted by Lithuania.
The legal status of the child
The Committee notes that there have been no changes to the situation which it has previously found to be in conformity with the Charter (Conclusions 2015).
The Committee further asks what measure have been taken to facilitate birth registration, particularly for vulnerable groups, such as Roma, asylum seekers, children in an irregular situation.
The Committee asks the next report to provide information on the rates of child poverty as well as on the measures adopted to reduce child poverty, including non-monetary measures such as ensuring access to quality and affordable services in the areas of health, education, housing etc. Information should also be provided on measures focused on combatting discrimination against and promoting equal opportunities for, children from particularly vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, Roma children, children with disabilities, and children in care.
Paragraph 2 – Free primary and secondary education – regular attendance at school
The Committee asks the next report to provide information on the measures adopted to ensure equal access to education for children from vulnerable groups such as Roma children, to prevent their early school leaving, to improve their educational outcomes and ensure that Roma children are not educated in segregated settings.
Article 31 – Right to housing
Paragraph 1 – Adequate housing
Measures in favour of vulnerable groups
The Committee previously concluded that the measures taken by public authorities to improve the substandard housing conditions of most Roma were insufficient and that the situation was therefore not in conformity with Article 31§1 of the Charter (Conclusions 2011, 2015).
According to the latest survey, in 2011 (out of the reference period), there were 2115 Roma living in Lithuania, of which almost one third lived in Vilnius, mostly in the Kirtimai settlement (some 400 persons). Between 45% and 49% of Roma were living in inadequate dwellings, lacking hot water, lavatories, bathrooms/showers and, for 17% of them, access to water supply. 52% of Roma furthermore lived in dwellings where the living space was smaller than average, between 1 and 19m2 per person. They were more often living in state or municipality-owned dwellings (14%, against a national average of 1.4%), as they were often victims of discrimination in access to rented private housing, 38% of Roma lived in social dwellings (against a national average of 1%). Their housing conditions were however different depending on the areas concerned.
The Committee notes from the report that an Action Plan for Roma Integration was adopted for 2015-2020, which involves the municipalities, Roma communities and the Roma Community Centre and is aimed at improving the housing conditions of Roma people, mainly through the provision of social housing, financed by the state, the municipalities and European Union funds. Within this Action Plan, the municipality of Vilnius adopted in 2016 a specific programme which aims at encouraging Roma families to leave the Kirtimai settlement by providing them with social housing or by subsidizing their rental costs in the private housing market. As a result of the programme, as of mid-2018 the number of Roma residents in the Kirtimai settlement (some 200 persons) had decreased by more than half compared to 2007.
The Committee takes stock of the progress made, but notes that the implementation of these measures is still under way (see also ECRI Conclusions on the implementation of the Recommendations in respect of Lithuania subject to interim follow-up, adopted in April 2019; Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Fourth Opinion on Lithuania, adopted in May 2018; European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, Country report 2018). It asks the next report to provide updated information in this respect. Meanwhile, it reserves its position on this point.
Document data: Conclusions XXI-4 (2019) March 2020. Link: https://rm.coe.int/rapport-ltu-en/16809cfbca