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September 09, 2009

Next week the European Parliament will debate a resolution project prepared by the European Liberals on the Lithuanian Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information. Resolution welcomes the statement made by the new President of the Republic of Lithuanian and she is advised to consult the Constitutional Court to examine the adopted law. Besides, Lithuanian institutions are urged to amend the law, or to repeal it, and to refrain from adopting the amendments to the penal and administrative codes.

One of the authors of the resolution the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Leonidas Donskis states that "the Lithuanian Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information adopted by the Seimas (Parliament) is institutionalisation of homophobia and can be treated as one form of censorship."

The European Parliament will vote on the motion for resolution in the next week`s plenary session in Strasbourg.

Resolution`s final version will be forwarded to the European Commission and the Council and to the governments and parliaments of all 27 Member States. It states that exclusion, discrimination and harassment of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGTB) people lead to severe psychological distress and high suicide rates. The resolution also reaffirms that information and education in schools is essential to protect young LGTB people.

The liberals in the European Parliament do not understand why any information about homosexuals is compared to the portrayal of physics violence, the display of a dead or brutally mutilated human body, and information that encourages suicide.

The resolution also states that the law does not provide any definition of "propagating" or "agitating for" homosexuality, heterosexuality or any other kind of sexual orientation, contradicting the principle of legal certainty according to which a law is valid where the banned acts are clearly defined in legal terms.

The law adopted in the Seimas (Parliament) states that in establishing the provisions of the protection of minors against the detrimental effect of public information and liability for violation thereof the principles like reasonableness, fairness, decency and the others have to be taken into account. "An institution or an officer who makes a decision about the presumed effect gets hardly predictable powers", - says L. Donskis.

The group of the MEPs asks the Agency for Fundamental Rights to asses this law and the amendments to it in the light of the EU treaties and EU law, as well as European values.

Resolution`s authors remind that in 1988 the UK introduces a similar law, which was later repealed not only because it was discriminatory, but also because it became a serious barriers to effective and sensitive teaching and pastoral care of pupils and students, endangering vulnerable children who face homophobic bullying and abuse.

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What do you think?
Which of the activities of L. Donskis at the European Parliament proved to be the most effective?
Activities in the field of human rights
Work with Eastern Partnership and post-Soviet countries
Support of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU

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