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Rapporteur urges Lithuanian Parliament to reject law change targeting LGBT rights

Strasbourg, 12.03.2014 – The General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people has urged the Lithuanian Parliament to reject a change in the law, due to be voted on tomorrow, which could impose administrative fines on those demonstrating publicly in support of LGBT rights, describing the proposed reform as “an unacceptable breach of human rights”.

Robert Biedroń (Poland, SOC) said the possible outcome of tomorrow’s vote on a draft amendment to Lithuania’s Code of Administrative Violations which seeks to introduce liability for “public defiance of constitutionally established family values” was a reason for grave concern.

“As legal experts from the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission have clearly stated, referring to laws adopted or discussed in several Council of Europe member states, statutory provisions prohibiting so-called ‘homosexual propaganda’ are incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and international human rights standards,” said Mr Biedroń.

“I urgently call on the members of the Lithuanian Parliament, including the members of the Lithuanian delegation to PACE, to uphold the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law which they have subscribed to, and ensure that Lithuania abides by its international obligations, in particular under the European Convention on Human Rights.”

He added: “The proposed reform would represent an unacceptable breach of human rights and would bring Lithuania far from the path that the country has shared with the rest of Europe in recent decades.”