CERD Concluding observations on Lithuania (excerpts on Roma), 2019

B.Positive aspects

3.The Committee welcomes the following legislative and policy measures taken by the State party:

[..]

(e)The adoption of the Programme for the Integration of the Roma Community living in Vilnius City Municipality into Society 2016–2019, on 19 April 2016.

[..]

C.Concerns and recommendations

[..]

Hate speech and incitement to hatred

11.The Committee is concerned about the strong prejudices and negative sentiments prevailing in the State party towards members of vulnerable and minority groups, in particular migrants, Muslims and Roma. It is also concerned that hate speech and incitement to hatred targeting these groups, as well as anti-Semitic speech, have been used in the media, including online media, and in the political sphere (arts. 2, 4 and 7).

[..]

Situation of Roma

17.While welcoming the adoption of the Action Plan for the Integration of Roma into Lithuanian Society 2015–2020 and noting several improvements in the socioeconomic situation of Roma, notably with regard to school attendance and housing, the Committee is concerned that Roma continue to suffer from social exclusion and are disproportionately affected by poverty. It is also concerned about (a) the persistently low proportion of Roma children and young people completing basic education and attending tertiary education; (b) the high unemployment rate among Roma, particularly Roma women; (c) the high proportion of Roma living in inadequate housing conditions, despite the successful efforts to resettle Roma families from the Kirtimai settlement; and (d) the lower than average rate of Roma covered by compulsory health insurance and their generally low access to health care. Moreover, the Committee notes with concern that infringements of the economic, social and cultural rights of Roma are exacerbated by stereotypes, prejudice and intolerance, leading to discrimination in the fields of employment, housing, health care and education (arts. 2, 5 and 7).

18. Recalling its general recommendation No. 27 (2000) on discrimination against Roma, the Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts towards the integration of Roma into society within the framework of the Action Plan for the Integration of Roma into Lithuanian Society 2015–2020. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party guarantee that sufficient funding and human resources are allocated to the strategy and that it ensure a higher participation of the Roma community, in particular Roma women, in its implementation. Moreover, the Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Actively combat discrimination against Roma in all spheres, in particular employment and housing, and ensure that Roma victims of discrimination have access to adequate remedies. With a view to combating stereotypes and prejudices towards Roma people, the Committee recommends that the State party provide training on Roma issues to law enforcement and judicial officers and to journalists. The Committee also recommends that the State party conduct awareness-raising campaigns to promote Roma culture and combat stereotypes and prejudices against Roma people ;

(b) Pursue its efforts to promote the enrolment of Roma children in preschool education and to support Roma children and young people in their completion of compulsory education and in their access to tertiary education, including with language and social skills support. It also recommends that the State party provide young Roma boys and girls with vocational training opportunities adapted to the needs of the employment market. In addition, the Committee recommends that the State party conduct awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of education targeted at Roma children and young people and their families ;

(c) Continue its efforts to facilitate the access of Roma to adequate housing, including access to social housing and subsidies for home rental, and complete the resettlement of the Roma households that have been living in the Kirtimai settlement. It also recommends that the State party strengthen coordination mechanisms in order to ensure that no house is demolished unless alternative housing or monetary compensation has been provided to the inhabitants;

(d) Increase its efforts to ensure that Roma, particularly Roma women, have access to adequate health care, including by conducting targeted awareness-raising campaigns with information about available health services and the requirements for compulsory health insurance coverage.

[..]

D.Other recommendations

[..]

Paragraphs of particular importance

35. The Committee wishes to draw the attention of the State party to the particular importance of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 14 (racially motivated crimes), 18 (situation of Roma) and 26 (statelessness) above and requests the State party to provide detailed information in its next periodic report on the concrete measures taken to implement those recommendations.

[..]


Document data: CERD/C/LTU/CO/9-10 adopted 09.05.2019, published 07.06.2019 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fLTU%2fCO%2f9-10&Lang=en (also available in the other UN official languages)

CERD Concluding observations on Lithuania (excerpts on hate crime/speech), 2019

C.Concerns and recommendations

[..]

Definition of racial discrimination


9.The Committee is concerned that the State party has not yet included “colour” and “descent” among the prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Law on Equal Treatment and in the Criminal Code (art. 1).

10. The Committee recommends that the State party amend the Law on Equal Treatment and the Criminal Code to introduce colour and descent as prohibited grounds of discrimination, in order to bring them in line with article 1 (1) of the Convention.

Hate speech and incitement to hatred

11.The Committee is concerned about the strong prejudices and negative sentiments prevailing in the State party towards members of vulnerable and minority groups, in particular migrants, Muslims and Roma. It is also concerned that hate speech and incitement to hatred targeting these groups, as well as anti-Semitic speech, have been used in the media, including online media, and in the political sphere (arts. 2, 4 and 7).

12. Recalling its general recommendation No. 35 (2013) on combating racist hate speech, the Committee recommends that the State party intensify its public campaigns to combat hate speech, incitement to hatred and hate crimes, to address prejudice and negative sentiments towards national minorities and migrants and to promote tolerance and understanding towards these groups, in cooperation with civil society and representatives of the most affected communities. The Committee also recommends that the State strengthen the training of journalists on how to avoid the use of hate speech and stereotypes towards communities, with the involvement of the Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics.

Prosecution of racially motivated crimes

13.The Committee is concerned about the low level of reporting of hate speech and hate crimes in the State party and about the fact that these crimes are not always registered and investigated as such. It is also concerned about the lack of available data on pretrial investigations for hate speech and incitement to hatred involving politicians or the media. The Committee is further concerned that the data on cases relating to discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes, particularly cases relating to articles 169, 170, 171, 312, 129, 135 and 138 of the Criminal Code, are not disaggregated by prohibited grounds, hence limiting knowledge about the prevalence of these crimes in various spheres.In addition, the Committee notes with concern that, while efforts to train law enforcement and judicial officers have been made in the past few years, the number of professionals trained remains low (arts. 4 and 6).

14. Recalling its general recommendation No. 35, the Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Take measures to encourage and facilitate the reporting of hate speech and hate crimes, including by raising public awareness about access to legal aid and available legal remedies and ensuring that the perpetrators are adequately prosecuted and punished;

(b) Strengthen the capacity of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges to investigate and prosecute cases of hate crime and hate speech and to collect disaggregated data on these crimes, including by increasing the amount of training provided and the number of persons trained;

(c) Collect statistics on investigated cases of hate crime and incitement to hatred emanating from politicians and from the media, including on the Internet ;

(d) Enhance the data- collection system in order to allow the collection of data disaggregated by prohibited grounds in cases of discrimination, hate speech and hate crime.

Reparations for victims of racially motivated crimes

15.The Committee is concerned that the current law on compensation for victims of violent crimes does not include the crimes defined in articles 169, 170 and 171 of the Criminal Code, hence excluding the victims of these crimes from reparation under the Fund for Victims of Crime (art. 6).

16. Noting that the State party is in the process of amending its legislation relating to the compensation of victims of violent crimes to bring it in line with European Union requirements, the Committee recommends that the State party include compensation to victims of discrimination and incitement to hatred in accordance with articles 169, 170 and 171 of the Criminal Code and the draft amendment to the Law on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes.

[..]

D.Other recommendations

[..]

Follow-up to the present concluding observations

34. In accordance with article 9 (1) of the Convention and rule 65 of its rules of procedure, the Committee requests the State party to provide, within one year of the adoption of the present concluding observations, information on its implementation of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 12 (combating hate speech), 20 (law on national minorities), and 22 (reception of asylum seekers) above.

Paragraphs of particular importance

35. The Committee wishes to draw the attention of the State party to the particular importance of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 14 (racially motivated crimes), 18 (situation of Roma) and 26 (statelessness) above and requests the State party to provide detailed information in its next periodic report on the concrete measures taken to implement those recommendations.

[..]


Document data: CERD/C/LTU/CO/9-10 adopted 09.05.2019, published 07.06.2019 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fLTU%2fCO%2f9-10&Lang=en (also available in the other UN official languages)

CERD Concluding observations on Lithuania (excerpts on Anti-Semitism and religion), 2019

C.Concerns and recommendations

[..]

Hate speech and incitement to hatred

11.The Committee is concerned about the strong prejudices and negative sentiments prevailing in the State party towards members of vulnerable and minority groups, in particular migrants, Muslims and Roma. It is also concerned that hate speech and incitement to hatred targeting these groups, as well as anti-Semitic speech, have been used in the media, including online media, and in the political sphere (arts. 2, 4 and 7).

12. Recalling its general recommendation No. 35 (2013) on combating racist hate speech, the Committee recommends that the State party intensify its public campaigns to combat hate speech, incitement to hatred and hate crimes, to address prejudice and negative sentiments towards national minorities and migrants and to promote tolerance and understanding towards these groups, in cooperation with civil society and representatives of the most affected communities. The Committee also recommends that the State strengthen the training of journalists on how to avoid the use of hate speech and stereotypes towards communities, with the involvement of the Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics.

[..]

D.Other recommendations

[..]

Follow-up to the present concluding observations

34. In accordance with article 9 (1) of the Convention and rule 65 of its rules of procedure, the Committee requests the State party to provide, within one year of the adoption of the present concluding observations, information on its implementation of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 12 (combating hate speech), 20 (law on national minorities), and 22 (reception of asylum seekers) above.

[..]


Document data: CERD/C/LTU/CO/9-10 adopted 09.05.2019, published 07.06.2019 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fLTU%2fCO%2f9-10&Lang=en (also available in the other UN official languages)

CERD Concluding observations on Lithuania (excerpts on international law), 2019

B.Positive aspects

[..]

4.The Committee welcomes the ratification by the State party of the amendment to article 8 (6) of the Convention, on 12 January 2017.

[..]

C.Concerns and recommendations

[..]

Reparations for victims of racially motivated crimes

[..]

16. Noting that the State party is in the process of amending its legislation relating to the compensation of victims of violent crimes to bring it in line with European Union requirements, the Committee recommends that the State party include compensation to victims of discrimination and incitement to hatred in accordance with articles 169, 170 and 171 of the Criminal Code and the draft amendment to the Law on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes.

D.Other recommendations

Ratification of other treaties

27. Bearing in mind the indivisibility of all human rights, the Committee encourages the State party to consider ratifying those international human rights treaties that it has not yet ratified, in particular treaties with provisions that have direct relevance to communities that may be subjected to racial discrimination, including the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), of the International Labour Organization.

Declaration under article 14 of the Convention

28. The Committee encourages the State party to make the optional declaration provided for in article 14 of the Convention recognizing the competence of the Committee to receive and consider individual communications.


Document data: CERD/C/LTU/CO/9-10 adopted 09.05.2019, published 07.06.2019 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fLTU%2fCO%2f9-10&Lang=en (also available in the other UN official languages)

CERD Concluding observations on Lithuania (excerpts on education and employment), 2019

C.Concerns and recommendations

Statistics

5.The Committee is concerned about the lack of statistics on the enjoyment of economic and social rights by persons belonging to different ethnic groups and of different national origins (art. 2).

6. The Committee recommends that the State party collect statistics on the social and economic situation of persons belonging to different ethnic and national minorities, disaggregated by sex, age and other relevant indicators, in order to acquire the necessary empirical data to design policies and measures aimed at enhancing the equal enjoyment of rights under the Convention.

[..]

Situation of Roma

17.While welcoming the adoption of the Action Plan for the Integration of Roma into Lithuanian Society 2015–2020 and noting several improvements in the socioeconomic situation of Roma, notably with regard to school attendance and housing, the Committee is concerned that Roma continue to suffer from social exclusion and are disproportionately affected by poverty. It is also concerned about (a) the persistently low proportion of Roma children and young people completing basic education and attending tertiary education; (b) the high unemployment rate among Roma, particularly Roma women; (c) the high proportion of Roma living in inadequate housing conditions, despite the successful efforts to resettle Roma families from the Kirtimai settlement; and (d) the lower than average rate of Roma covered by compulsory health insurance and their generally low access to health care. Moreover, the Committee notes with concern that infringements of the economic, social and cultural rights of Roma are exacerbated by stereotypes, prejudice and intolerance, leading to discrimination in the fields of employment, housing, health care and education (arts. 2, 5 and 7).

18. Recalling its general recommendation No. 27 (2000) on discrimination against Roma, the Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts towards the integration of Roma into society within the framework of the Action Plan for the Integration of Roma into Lithuanian Society 2015–2020. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party guarantee that sufficient funding and human resources are allocated to the strategy and that it ensure a higher participation of the Roma community, in particular Roma women, in its implementation. Moreover, the Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Actively combat discrimination against Roma in all spheres, in particular employment and housing, and ensure that Roma victims of discrimination have access to adequate remedies. With a view to combating stereotypes and prejudices towards Roma people, the Committee recommends that the State party provide training on Roma issues to law enforcement and judicial officers and to journalists. The Committee also recommends that the State party conduct awareness-raising campaigns to promote Roma culture and combat stereotypes and prejudices against Roma people ;

(b) Pursue its efforts to promote the enrolment of Roma children in preschool education and to support Roma children and young people in their completion of compulsory education and in their access to tertiary education, including with language and social skills support. It also recommends that the State party provide young Roma boys and girls with vocational training opportunities adapted to the needs of the employment market. In addition, the Committee recommends that the State party conduct awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of education targeted at Roma children and young people and their families ;

(c) Continue its efforts to facilitate the access of Roma to adequate housing, including access to social housing and subsidies for home rental, and complete the resettlement of the Roma households that have been living in the Kirtimai settlement. It also recommends that the State party strengthen coordination mechanisms in order to ensure that no house is demolished unless alternative housing or monetary compensation has been provided to the inhabitants;

(d) Increase its efforts to ensure that Roma, particularly Roma women, have access to adequate health care, including by conducting targeted awareness-raising campaigns with information about available health services and the requirements for compulsory health insurance coverage.

[..]

Integration of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection

[..]

24. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Guarantee that each refugee and beneficiary of subsidiary protection benefits from adequate integration measures, including in the fields of education, training and employment ;

[..]

D.Other recommendations

[..]

Follow-up to the present concluding observations

34. In accordance with article 9 (1) of the Convention and rule 65 of its rules of procedure, the Committee requests the State party to provide, within one year of the adoption of the present concluding observations, information on its implementation of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 12 (combating hate speech), 20 (law on national minorities), and 22 (reception of asylum seekers) above.

Paragraphs of particular importance

35. The Committee wishes to draw the attention of the State party to the particular importance of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 14 (racially motivated crimes), 18 (situation of Roma) and 26 (statelessness) above and requests the State party to provide detailed information in its next periodic report on the concrete measures taken to implement those recommendations.

[..]


Document data: CERD/C/LTU/CO/9-10 adopted 09.05.2019, published 07.06.2019 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fLTU%2fCO%2f9-10&Lang=en (also available in the other UN official languages)

CERD Concluding observations on Lithuania (excerpts on anti-discrimination and integration),2019

B.Positive aspects

3.The Committee welcomes the following legislative and policy measures taken by the State party:

(a)The accreditation of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office with category A status as a national human rights institution and the subsequent adoption of the amended Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen, on 7 December 2017;

(b)The adoption of the Action Plan for the Integration of Foreigners into Society 2018–2020, on 21 December 2018;

(c)The adoption of the Action Plan for the Promotion of Non-discrimination 2017–2019, on 15 May 2017;

(d)The adoption of the Inter-institutional Action Plan for Anti-Trafficking in Human Beings 2017–2019, on 29 August 2016;

(e)The adoption of the Programme for the Integration of the Roma Community living in Vilnius City Municipality into Society 2016–2019, on 19 April 2016.

[..]

C.Concerns and recommendations

[..]

National human rights institutions

7.The Committee notes that, in 2017, the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office acquired new areas of competence by virtue of the amended Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen, and the mandate of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson was extended to include prevention and educational activities. However, the Committee is concerned about the limited resources allocated to these two institutions, which may hinder their capacity to adequately perform their mandate and additional competences in an independent manner (art. 2).

8. The Committee recommends that the State party allocate sufficient funding:

(a) To the Seimas Ombudsmen ’ s Office so that it can effectively and independently fulfil its mandate, including in the new areas of competence defined in the amended Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen, in full compliance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles );

(b) To the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson so that it can take up its preventive and education competences.

Definition of racial discrimination

9. The Committee is concerned that the State party has not yet included “colour” and “descent” among the prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Law on Equal Treatment and in the Criminal Code (art. 1).

10. The Committee recommends that the State party amend the Law on Equal Treatment and the Criminal Code to introduce colour and descent as prohibited grounds of discrimination, in order to bring them in line with article 1 (1) of the Convention.

[..]

Situation of Roma

17.While welcoming the adoption of the Action Plan for the Integration of Roma into Lithuanian Society 2015–2020 and noting several improvements in the socioeconomic situation of Roma, notably with regard to school attendance and housing, the Committee is concerned that Roma continue to suffer from social exclusion and are disproportionately affected by poverty. It is also concerned about (a) the persistently low proportion of Roma children and young people completing basic education and attending tertiary education; (b) the high unemployment rate among Roma, particularly Roma women; (c) the high proportion of Roma living in inadequate housing conditions, despite the successful efforts to resettle Roma families from the Kirtimai settlement; and (d) the lower than average rate of Roma covered by compulsory health insurance and their generally low access to health care. Moreover, the Committee notes with concern that infringements of the economic, social and cultural rights of Roma are exacerbated by stereotypes, prejudice and intolerance, leading to discrimination in the fields of employment, housing, health care and education (arts. 2, 5 and 7).

18. Recalling its general recommendation No. 27 (2000) on discrimination against Roma, the Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts towards the integration of Roma into society within the framework of the Action Plan for the Integration of Roma into Lithuanian Society 2015–2020. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party guarantee that sufficient funding and human resources are allocated to the strategy and that it ensure a higher participation of the Roma community, in particular Roma women, in its implementation. Moreover, the Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Actively combat discrimination against Roma in all spheres, in particular employment and housing, and ensure that Roma victims of discrimination have access to adequate remedies. With a view to combating stereotypes and prejudices towards Roma people, the Committee recommends that the State party provide training on Roma issues to law enforcement and judicial officers and to journalists. The Committee also recommends that the State party conduct awareness-raising campaigns to promote Roma culture and combat stereotypes and prejudices against Roma people ;

(b) Pursue its efforts to promote the enrolment of Roma children in preschool education and to support Roma children and young people in their completion of compulsory education and in their access to tertiary education, including with language and social skills support. It also recommends that the State party provide young Roma boys and girls with vocational training opportunities adapted to the needs of the employment market. In addition, the Committee recommends that the State party conduct awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of education targeted at Roma children and young people and their families ;

(c) Continue its efforts to facilitate the access of Roma to adequate housing, including access to social housing and subsidies for home rental, and complete the resettlement of the Roma households that have been living in the Kirtimai settlement. It also recommends that the State party strengthen coordination mechanisms in order to ensure that no house is demolished unless alternative housing or monetary compensation has been provided to the inhabitants;

(d) Increase its efforts to ensure that Roma, particularly Roma women, have access to adequate health care, including by conducting targeted awareness-raising campaigns with information about available health services and the requirements for compulsory health insurance coverage.

Law on national minorities

19.While understanding the complexity of the issues relating to national minorities and the need for an inclusive and comprehensive dialogue on the matter, the Committee regrets that, despite the high number of national minorities in the State party and the drafting of several legislative proposals since the expiration of the previous law in 2010, there is still no comprehensive legislative framework guaranteeing the rights of national minorities in the State party (art. 2).

20. With a view to guaranteeing the protection of the rights of all national minorities, the Committee recommends that the State party accelerate the drafting and adoption of a comprehensive law on national minorities. It also recommends that the State party ensure that representatives of the different national minorities are consulted in the course of the drafting process.

[..]

Integration of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection

23.While welcoming the measures envisaged in the Action Plan for the Integration of Foreigners into Society 2018–2020, the Committee is concerned that refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection still face difficulties fully integrating in society. The Committee is also concerned that beneficiaries of international protection continue to face prejudice and suffer from discrimination in access to housing, and that the amount of financial support provided to facilitate their integration substantially limits their housing options (arts. 2 and 5).

24. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Guarantee that each refugee and beneficiary of subsidiary protection benefits from adequate integration measures, including in the fields of education, training and employment ;

(b) Further combat xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiments in the area of housing and ensure that cases of discrimination against these groups are adequately reported and addressed ;

(c) Consider increasing the duration and amount of financial support for the integration of beneficiaries of international protection in order to facilitate their access to adequate housing.

[..]

D.Other recommendations

[..]

Follow-up to the present concluding observations

34. In accordance with article 9 (1) of the Convention and rule 65 of its rules of procedure, the Committee requests the State party to provide, within one year of the adoption of the present concluding observations, information on its implementation of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 12 (combating hate speech), 20 (law on national minorities), and 22 (reception of asylum seekers) above.

Paragraphs of particular importance

35. The Committee wishes to draw the attention of the State party to the particular importance of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 14 (racially motivated crimes), 18 (situation of Roma) and 26 (statelessness) above and requests the State party to provide detailed information in its next periodic report on the concrete measures taken to implement those recommendations.

[..]


Document data: CERD/C/LTU/CO/9-10 adopted 09.05.2019, published 07.06.2019 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fLTU%2fCO%2f9-10&Lang=en (also available in the other UN official languages)