European & International News

Stop proposed ban on gender reassignment in Lithuania! say members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

[Transgender Europe, Malmo, 23 October 2011] Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe issued a written declaration on October 5th 2011 (Doc. 12753), which speaks out sharply against the legal proposal to ban gender reassignment in Lithuania. The 30 signees find “this proposal is an egregious attack on the fundamental rights of a highly vulnerable minority, who are in any event at risk of violence and discrimination on a regular basis.” They “call upon the Lithuanian government and members of Lithuania’s delegation to the Assembly to work to ensure rejection of this proposal.” TGEU welcomes this declaration by the PACE members.

“This proposed ban is outright wrong. It contradicts the human rights of transgender people in Lithuania. Instead, the parliament needs to take immediate steps helping to overcome the isolation and discrimination many transgender persons face in Lithuania.” adds TGEU Central- and Eastern Europe working group coordinator, Wiktor Dynarski.

“It is now on members of the Lithuanian parliament to reject the proposed ban on gender reassignment and swiftly develop transparent, quick and accessible procedures for legal gender recognition. After four years, Lithuania finally needs to fulfill its obligations as a member to the EU and the Council of Europe” says TGEU Co-Chair Richard Köhler.

Four (!) years after the L vs Lithuania sentence by the European Court on Human Rights no satisfying legislation in this regard has been adopted. Lithuania had lost the case in 2007 on the basis of inconsistent legislation de facto preventing transgender people from having their gender legally recognized. In its decision the Court had requested Lithuania to adopt required subsidiary legislation within three months.”

The Lithuanian Parliament is to discuss the legal proposal in its current session. On March 8th 2011 the chair of the Committee for Health Affairs, Antanas MATULAS, and other introduced an amendment (Nr. XIP-2988) to the Lithuanian Parliament that would a) render gender reassignment illegal in Lithuania and b) require a judicial decision for legal gender recognition upon gender reassignment surgery (GRS) being performed abroad. However, the legal department of the Lithuanian Parliament has reviewed the proposal with a negative answer. The legal draft has not been tabled for discussion in the Parliament yet.

Transgender people are protected against discrimination by EU Gender Equality Legislation. Not passing legislation that is fit to allow transgender people to access the job market and goods & services is a breach of the obligations under European Union law.

Lithuania’s agreed to the Committee of Ministers for the Recommendation on measures to combat homo- and transphobia (Rec(2010(5)) at the Council of Europe. Accordingly, member states “should take appropriate measures to guarantee the full legal recognition of a person’s gender reassignment in all areas of life, in particular by making possible the change of name and gender in official documents in a quick, transparent and accessible way.”

This statement can also be found on: http://www.tgeu.org/Stop_proposed_ban_on_gender_reassignment_say_Council_of_Europe_Parliamentarians

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