LGBT equality is the main topic on my political agenda. However, my professional experience is very closely linked to the field of human rights in a broader sense. In my candidacy for the committee chairmanship, I have identified five priorities that I would like to pursue during this term.
1. Active legislation
The Statute of the Seimas provides the Human Rights Committee with the prerogative not only to assess the submitted draft laws from the aspect of the protection of human rights, but also to initiate certain legislative processes. It is necessary to take initiatives to address the human rights issues in our society, such as legalizing the same-sex civil partnerships, regulating the legal recognition of gender identity, standardizing the spelling of personal names in non-Lithuanian characters and ensuring the rights of different national minorities. The Human Rights Committee also has an important role to play in responding to the pandemic of gender-based violence.
2. Parliamentary control
In Lithuania sometimes the institutions monitoring human rights are mistakenly considered to be the executors of both gender equality and equal opportunities policies. It is important to strengthen the cooperation with and the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor, so that human rights policies also become a prerogative of the executive institutions.
3. Empowering ombuds institutions
4. International recommendations
The implementation of the human rights recommendations issued to Lithuania by international organizations is not effectively coordinated at the national level. Different ministries supervise the implementation of the recommendations; there is a lack of cooperation, no ambitious goals and no clearly defined criteria. These processes need to be monitored at parliamentary level, thus ensuring a clear division of responsibilities, inter-institutional cooperation and accountability of the executive branch.
5. Education about human rights
Addressing human rights challenges must primarily start with education, from fostering the respect for diversity at an early age. In cooperation with the Committee on Education and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport we must ensure that human rights issues are integrated into up-to-date general education curricula. Education about human rights is the key not only to an open and free society, but also the most effective antidote to the epidemic of bullying and suicide.