Lithuania

Religious groups oppose ratification of Istanbul Convention

The debates around the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence have been ongoing in Lithuania after the Parliament included the document in the discussion of the spring session 2021. Signed in 2013, the Convention was submitted by the President for ratification back in 2018 but did not proceed further. Leaders of Lithuania's Christian religious communities issued a statement in March 2021 opposing the ratification of the Convention.
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Religious groups oppose ratification of Istanbul Convention

Support for Belarus; LGBTI rights under attack

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly harsh on hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. With the purpose of helping one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic, and facilitating the coordination between those who need help and those who can help, the National Coordinating Centre for Volunteers was recently established. CSOs see "the rise of volunteering activities and in general the boost of civil society initiatives” as a “positive trend” currently taking place in Lithuania. Lithuanian Non-Governmental Organisations’ Information and Support Centre has been actively supporting Belarus citizens currently living in Lithuania to establish NGOs and other similar entities that facilitate civic engagement. In addition, Lithuania has also been granting political asylum, scholarship and medical assistance to Belarus citizens, and has been home to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya -- Lukashenko’s main opposition -- ever since she fled Belarus in August 2020 due to safety concerns. In a concerning development, there have been several attacks on LGBTI rights.
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Support for Belarus; LGBTI rights under attack

Protests staged in support of Polish Women and against COVID-19 measures

On 11th and 25th October 2020, Lithuania held parliamentary elections that ultimately led to the creation of a new conservative government. Like many other European countries, Lithuania had to adopt restrictive measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. On 2nd December 2020, the government further tightened the measures in relation to gatherings between private citizens in public spaces by reducing the number of people allowed to gather from five to two. On 17th and 18th November 2020, during the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Lithuania, women rights activists protested, in support of Polish women, against the very restrictive near total ban on abortion imposed by a Constitutional Tribunal ruling in October 2020. On 21st November 2020, about 40 people protested against the mandatory requirement to wear a face mask in public places. Read more

Protests staged in support of Polish Women and against COVID-19 measures

Protest over LGBTI rights; government praised for milestone NGO funding support

Lithuanian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are rejoicing after a National NGO Fund was established following many years of advocacy.
 In addition, the Lithuanian administration has promised a further two million Euros for the NGO sector, which has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In a separate development, in July 2020, around 500 people rallied in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital for LGBTI rights, calling on the government to legalise sex change and same-sex marriage and to highlight the harmful provisions of the controversial Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. In a positive development, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in favour of a gay couple Beizaras and Levickas in a landmark case against hate speech.

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Protest over LGBTI rights; government praised for milestone NGO funding support

Positive developments for the NGO sector

Inga Aksamitauskaitė, project coordinator at NGO Information and Support Center, spoke with the CIVICUS Monitor to highlight the accomplishments for the NGO sector in 2019. Read more

Positive developments for the NGO sector

CSOs in Lithuania concerned new amendments of the law on lobbying may unnecessary overburden NGOs

The parliament in Lithuania is currently taking steps to amend the Law on Lobbying Activities.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Lithuania raised concerns over the negative impact the suggested amendment concerning NGOs would have on the sector by creating an extra administrative burden for NGOs.
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CSOs in Lithuania concerned new amendments of the law on lobbying may unnecessary overburden NGOs

Proposed media regulations threaten media freedom ahead of elections

The Lithuanian parliament has recently taken a number of legislative steps aimed at countering threats of foreign propaganda and fake news. However, civil society claims that some of these measures may threaten freedom of expression and impede open discourse and media independence. Read more

Proposed media regulations threaten media freedom ahead of elections

New collaboration seeks to counter disinformation in the media

A new collaboration between the media, civil society and military communications experts seeks to combat the problem of disinformation in the media. Read more

New collaboration seeks to counter disinformation in the media

A potentially positive step forward for NGO funding

At a meeting in April, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis expressed support for the creation of an NGO fund. At the same time, civil society organizations have expressed concerns about potential limitations on free expression stemming from draft amendments to consumer rights legislation. Read more

A potentially positive step forward for NGO funding

ECHR rules in favour of Lithuanian NGO's case on free expression

In a judgment delivered on 30th January 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Lithuanian government had unreasonably restricted the freedom of expression. Read more

ECHR rules in favour of Lithuanian NGO's case on free expression