Het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van Mens (EHRM) oordeelde zojuist dat de Russische anti-homowet, die ‘propaganda’ voor homoseksualiteit verbiedt, discriminerend en in strijd is met de vrijheid van meningsuiting.
D66-Europarlementariër Sophie in 't Veld verwelkomt de uitspraak: “Met deze verschrikkelijke anti-homowetten worden levens verwoest. De Russische wet is een grove schending van de mensenrechten en tal van internationale verdragen. De uitspraak van het hof vandaag is een steun in de rug voor de LHBTI-beweging in Rusland en hopelijk een voorbeeld voor andere landen.”
D66 gaat opnieuw bij de Europese Commissie aandringen om de soortgelijke anti-homowetgeving in Litouwen te onderzoeken. Hier zijn bijvoorbeeld sprookjes met same sex figuren verboden en mag een door de Commissie medegefinancierde video over moderne families alleen worden uitgezonden na 23.00uur, tussen de alcohol- en sigarettenreclames door.
In ´t Veld: “Na ruim zeven jaar heeft de Europese Commissie amper opgetreden tegen de Litouwse anti-homowet, die sterke gelijkenissen kent met de Russische variant. Het is overduidelijk dat Litouwen een loopje neemt met de grondbeginselen van de Europese Unie. Litouwers worden gediscrimineerd op basis van wie ze houden of wie ze zijn. Dat is onacceptabel. De Europese Commissie moet de rechten van alle Litouwers beschermen.”
D66'er In 't Veld strijdt sinds 2009 voor gelijke rechten in Litouwen. Lees hieronder de schriftelijke vraag die In 't Veld stelde hierover, gevolgd door het antwoord van de Europese Commissie.
WRITTEN QUESTION E-0060/09
by Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE)
to the Commission
Subject: LGBT situation in Lithuania
On 11 December 2008 the Lithuanian Parliament approved amendments to the draft Law on the Protection of Minors against Detrimental Effects of Public Information. The draft law asserts that ‘a detrimental effect on the development of minors’ is caused by ‘public information that agitates for homosexual relations’ and that ‘defies family values’. Neither ‘agitation’ nor ‘family values’ are defined, which could lead to the banning of any non-negative information on homosexuality, i.e. websites or films but also discos, exhibitions, demonstrations and other public events related to homosexuality if these could be accessed by minors.
The proposed legislation will first go before a parliamentary committee and is then scheduled to be adopted in spring 2009.
1. Is the Commission aware of this new law?
2. Does the Commission agree that this new law is discriminatory against LGBT persons and therefore is not in accordance with the basic European fundamental rights enshrined in the Treaties (i.e. Art. 6 TEU and 13 TEC and related anti-discrimination laws and policies) and in the European Convention on Human Rights?
3. Does the Commission agree that this new law goes against the principle of freedom of information and freedom of expression as enshrined in the Treaties?
4. Does the Commission agree that this kind of homophobic legislation would be unacceptable in an EU Member State which is obliged to respect the Treaties? What action will the Commission take in order to inform the Lithuanian authorities about the fact that such a law would be contrary to EU law?
5. If this law does enter into force, what further action will the Commission take?
Answer given by Mr Špidla
on behalf of the Commission
The Lithuanian Government, which has an obligation as a Member State to communicate measures transposing Community legislation only after they have been adopted and are in force, has not notified the Commission of the draft law referred to by the Honourable Member.
The Commission strongly condemns all forms of homophobia, which represents an attack on human dignity. In line with the principles underpinning the Treaties, the Commission is firmly committed to combating discrimination in all its forms. In this context, it acts within its powers to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. An action for infringement of Community law can only be taken with regard to national laws in force.
As a concrete measure to fight discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, the Commission proposed a Directive laying down a general framework for equality in employment and occupation. Adopted by the Council on 27 November 2000, the Directive provides that the Member States are to prohibit direct and indirect discrimination in those fields on grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. On 2 July 2008 the Commission proposed a new Directive granting the same level of legal protection against discrimination outside employment on grounds of age, religion, sexual orientation and disability that currently exists against discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin.
The Commission will closely monitor legislative developments in Lithuania and will ensure that Directive 2000/78/EC is enforced in all Member States. To that end it will use all means within its powers, where necessary including infringement procedures, to the extent the draft law to which the Honourable Member refers falls within the scope of this Directive.
Freedom of expression and freedom to receive and impart information are among the principles on which the European Union is founded. These freedoms may be subject to restrictions only if these restrictions are “prescribed by law”, imposed in order to attain one or more of the legitimate ends referred to in the European Convention on Human Rights and “necessary in a democratic society” in order for these ends to be attained.
In areas not falling within European Community competence, Lithuanian authorities, including courts, are in charge of ensuring the full respect of fundamental rights in Lithuania.
 Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, OJ L 303, 2.12.2000.
 COM(2008) 426 final