COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
4-22 March 2002
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
1. The Committee considered the initial report of Lithuania (CERD/C/369/Add.2)
at its 1497th and 1498th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1497 and 1498), on
5 and 6 March 2002, and at its 1520th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1520),
on 21 March 2002, adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the initial report submitted by the State
party and the additional oral information provided, as well as the
opportunity thus offered to initiate a dialogue with the State party.
3. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the State party's
report generally conforms to the reporting guidelines of the Committee.
The Committee wishes to underline that the report of the State party
presents, as expected from initial reports, the legal framework
set out to implement the Convention, but contains insufficient information
on the practical implementation of the Convention.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee notes with satisfaction that since the independence
of Lithuania, considerable progress has been achieved in the
of human rights; in particular, the "zero option" in
the 1989 Law on Citizenship, which enabled the majority of the
obtain Lithuanian citizenship, has led to the construction of
a more stable society.
5. The Committee welcomes the efforts made by the State party to
respect, protect and promote the realization of the cultural rights
of persons belonging to national minorities. In particular, the
Committee welcomes the State party's willingness to protect the
expression of a diversity of identities, while at the same time
enhancing the integration of all within society and the realization
of the right of each person to participate and contribute to cultural
and social life.
6. The Committee also notes with satisfaction that the State party
has ratified a large number of international and regional instruments
in the field of human rights. The Committee particularly welcomes
the announcement made by the delegation concerning the intention
of the State party to consider making the declaration under article
14 of the Convention.
7. The Committee notes with satisfaction that a new criminal code,
which includes a number of new articles establishing responsibility
for crimes of racial discrimination, is shortly to enter into force.
8. The Committee welcomes the initiative taken by the Parliament
(Seimas) to amend article 119 of the Constitution of Lithuania and
to grant to foreign permanent residents the right to elect and to
be elected to local self-government bodies (municipal councils).
9. The Committee notes with satisfaction the effort made by the
State party in the field of human rights education for State officials,
and welcomes the intention of the State party to disseminate the
present concluding observations on the web site of the Ministry
for Foreign Affairs.
C. Concerns and recommendations
10. The Committee notes that the explanations of the authorities
relating to the status of the Convention at the national level were
unclear. Although the delegation stated that national courts could
apply directly some of the provisions of the Convention, it also
stressed that the adoption of national legislation was necessary.
The Committee calls for the rapid incorporation of all the provisions
of the Convention into the national legal system, as necessary.
11. The Committee notes that the new Law on Citizenship is more
restrictive and requires the applicants to pass tests on the Lithuanian
language and the provisions of the Constitution, which may exclude
from citizenship persons belonging to certain minorities. In this
regard, the Committee requests the State party to include detailed
information on the functioning of the new system in its next periodic
12. Concern was expressed about the denial of citizenship under
article 13 of the Law on Citizenship to persons affected by HIV/AIDS,
who may belong to groups vulnerable to racism and racial discrimination.
13. The Committee wishes to receive more detailed information concerning
the right to education and the linguistic rights of persons belonging
to national minorities, as well as on respect for the principle
of equal treatment for all national minorities. The Committee wishes
to be informed whether programmes of education on minority cultures
are elaborated with the participation of the minorities. The Committee
also recommends that the next periodic report of the State party
contain more information relating to the participation of national
minorities in political and economic life.
14. The Committee notes with concern that, despite the adoption
of a programme for the integration of the Roma into Lithuanian society
for 2000-2004, the Roma experience difficulties in enjoying their
fundamental rights in the fields of housing, health, employment
and education, and are the subject of prejudicial attitudes. In
this regard, the Committee wishes to draw the attention of the State
party to general recommendation XXVII on discrimination against
Roma. The Committee recommends that the State party in its next
periodic report, include detailed information on the measures aimed
at protecting Roma as well as on the results of their implementation.
15. The Committee underlines that the periodic report of the State
party remains unclear on the fundamental rights of non-citizens
temporarily or permanently settled within Lithuania, including stateless
persons, and requests further information in this regard.
16. The Committee expresses concern in relation to information regarding
the discriminatory treatment of Afghan asylum-seekers and the disregard
of basic procedural guarantees. Having taken into account the assurances
given by the delegation concerning legislative provisions in this
regard, the Committee nevertheless recommends that the State party
ensure equal treatment for all asylum-seekers, including Afghan
nationals, in refugee determination proceedings. The Committee recommends
that educational rights and assistance in administrative matters
be granted to children of asylum-seekers, including those of Afghan
17. The Committee is further concerned about xenophobic tendencies
towards Chechen asylum-seekers and refugees and requests the State
party to take preventive and educational measures in this regard.
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the enjoyment
of social rights, particularly to adequate housing and health, to
all asylum-seekers and refugees in need without regard to their
18. The Committee is concerned about information relating to expressions
of racial hatred by politicians and the media. In this regard, the
Committee stresses that the new criminal code should satisfy the
requirements of article 4 of the Convention, especially paragraphs
(a) and (b).
19. The Committee notes that the Parliamentary ombudsmen have received
no complaints alleging discrimination by civil servants against
persons on the ground of national origin, and that no criminal cases
based on racial discrimination have been brought to court since
1995. The Committee recommends that awareness on these issues be
raised among the police and the judiciary. The Committee requests
the State party to include in its next periodic report detailed
statistics relating to acts of racial discrimination, as well as
information on the cases when action by the public prosecutor is
compulsory. The Committee underlines that assistance to the victims
in this regard should extend beyond financial assistance.
20. The Committee suggests that the State party ratify the amendments
to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, which were adopted
on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties.
21. The Committee recommends that the State party take into account
the relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
when implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order, in
particular in respect of articles 2 to 7 of the Convention, and
that it include in its next periodic report information on action
plans or other measures taken to implement the Durban Declaration
and Programme of Action at national level.
22. The Committee recommends that the Convention, as well as the
concluding observations adopted by the Committee, be publicized
to a greater extent.
23. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its second
periodic report jointly with its third periodic report, due on 9
January 2004, and that it address all points raised in the present
* Please note that the symbol CERD/C/Session No./CO/… will
from now on replace the previous symbol CERD/C/304/Add.