World

Amnesty Takes on Lithuania

Amnesty International says Lithuania is failing to respect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people’s rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

The Vilnius city council refused Oct. 24 to permit the display of a 30-meter rainbow flag in Town Hall Square.

The event was planned as a focal point for the International Lesbian & Gay Association European Region’s annual convention taking place in the city.
The city banned the display on claims that construction activity in the square could endanger participants.

However, the square remained open to the public, and officials offered ILGA-Europe no alternative venue.

Vilnius banned an identical flag display in May during the city’s first gay pride activities. It also banned the European Union’s traveling “anti-discrimination truck” from visiting the city at the same time.

On the national level, Parliament is considering legislation to ban “propagation of homosexuality” to children.

The proposal amends the Law on Protection of Minors Against Detrimental Effects of Public Information, which currently bans portrayals of physical or psychological violence or vandalism; displays of dead or cruelly mutilated human bodies; and information that arouses fear or horror, or encourages self-mutilation or suicide.

The bill’s authors have written that “the propagation of a non-traditional sexual orientation and exposure to information containing positive coverage of homosexual relations may … cause negative consequences for the physical, mental and, first and foremost, moral development of minors.”
Amnesty urged “the Lithuanian authorities to respect the right to peaceful freedom of assembly for all [and] the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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