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EU agency: Lithuania's efforts to fight ethnic discrimination not effective enough



In the opinion of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), cases of ethnic discrimination registered in Lithuania are solved ineffectively and the issue does not receive enough attention.


Such were the findings of a survey of racism and xenophobia in the EU member states conducted by the agency.


According to the research, Lithuania belongs to the group of countries, in which there are legal instruments in place to complain on ethnic discrimination, but the sanctions usually applied in such cases rely on moral pressure or recommendations and the victims do not get compensations.


Estonia, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Finland also belong to the group.


Lithuania's Equal Opportunities Ombudsman received 20 complaints on racial and ethnic discrimination and 6 complaints because of religious background in 2006. Seven of the complaints have been proved.


The research report states that there is no evidence that, despite the establishment of discrimination in those cases, an effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanction was imposed in a single case of ethnic discrimination in the reporting period in Lithuania.


The low number of recorded complaints in Lithuania could indicate a lack of awareness of the existence and functioning of these specialised bodies, the researches stated.




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