Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, A/HRC/7/19/Add.4, 7 February 2008: Lithuania
II. LEGAL FRAMEWORK, PUBLIC POLICIES AND VIEWS OF STATE OFFICIALS
A. The legal and institutional framework to combat racism and racial discrimination The Law on Equal Treatment and the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson
24. The broad provisions established in the Constitution are specified in the Law on Equal Treatment approved on 18 November 2003, entering into force on 1 January 2005. The purpose of the Law is to “ensure the implementation of human rights laid down in the Constitution” and “to prohibit any direct or indirect discrimination based upon age, sexual orientation, disability, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs” (art. 1.1). The Law makes explicit reference to Lithuania’s human rights obligations laid down in both international and national instruments and spells out the specific responsibilities of State and municipal institutions, educational institutions, employers and consumer service providers.
26. The Law on Equal Treatment expanded the role of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, who is responsible to receive complaints from persons that allege being subject to discriminatory actions and to oversee the general implementation of the Law. Prior to 2005, the Ombudsperson was responsible primarily for issues of gender equality. However, since the adoption of the Law on Equal Treatment, its mandate was expanded to cover various forms of discrimination, namely on the basis of age, sexual orientation, disability, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs. The Ombudsperson is allowed to investigate complaints filed not only by citizens, but also foreigners and stateless persons. An important element of the Ombudsperson’s mandate is the power to initiate investigations at her discretion and not only in response to existing complaints.
Link to full text of the report: Mission report-SR Racism-Lithuania-2008-eng