Amnesty International Report 2005 - Lithuania
|Publication Date||25 May 2005|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2005 - Lithuania , 25 May 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/429b27eb20.html [accessed 12 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Covering events from January - December 2004
Concerns about violence against women, "anti-terrorism" measures, protection for asylum-seekers and the rights of conscientious objectors were among those raised by international monitoring bodies.
Violence against women
In the home
In May the UN Human Rights Committee issued its concluding observations after examining Lithuania's second periodic report on implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee welcomed efforts to combat the rising incidence of violence against women and children in the home, but noted the lack of protection in law against domestic violence. It recommended the enactment of specific legislation, to include provision for restraining orders on violent family members. The Committee also urged Lithuania to continue its efforts to provide shelters and other support for survivors of domestic violence; to take measures to encourage women to report domestic violence; and to sensitize the police in their handling of such cases.
Similar concerns were expressed by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights in a report of his November 2003 visit to Lithuania, issued in February. He said that domestic violence was reportedly widespread, and that the low levels of reporting to the police appeared to be because it was commonly seen as a private matter, not a human rights violation.
Trafficking of women
The Commissioner noted that Lithuania remained a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficked people, most of them women trafficked for sexual exploitation, but that it lacked a rehabilitation programme for women forced into prostitution.
Although trafficking was criminalized under existing legislation, the law did not sufficiently address criminal networks. It did not identify precise means of compensating victims of trafficking, he reported, or the possibility of exempting them from legal responsibility for acts, such as illegal entry, that resulted from being trafficked. Nor could they remain in Lithuania for a period while deciding whether to cooperate with police action against their traffickers.
The Committee expressed concern about the draft law on the legal status of foreign nationals, which could allow those regarded as a threat to state security to be removed, without right of appeal, to a country where they were at risk of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. It recommended that any "anti-terrorism" measures conform to the International Covenant, and that Lithuania ensure protection for all from forcible return to countries where they risked such abuses.
The Committee was concerned at information that asylum-seekers from certain countries were prevented from requesting asylum at the border; that the criteria for detaining asylum-seekers in "exceptional circumstances" remained unclear; and at the low percentage of applicants granted asylum in recent years. The Committee recommended that Lithuania ensure access to the domestic asylum procedure for all asylum-seekers, irrespective of their country of origin, and provide information on the criteria for detention.
The Committee reiterated its concern about the conditions of alternative service available to conscientious objectors to military service, "in particular the eligibility criteria and the duration of such service as compared with military service". It recommended that Lithuania clarify the grounds and eligibility for alternative service, permit an alternative service outside the defence forces, and ensure that the duration of such service is not punitive.