A compilation of extracts featuring child-rights issues from the reports submitted to the second Universal Periodic Review. There are extracts from the 'National Report', the 'Compilation of UN Information' and the 'Summary of Stakeholder's Information'. Also included is the final report and the list of accepted and rejected recommendations.
Lithuania - Twenty Sixth Session - 2016
2 November 2016 - 14:30 - 18:00
II. Changes in the legal and institutional framework
C. Public education on human rights
12. The Description of the Accomplishments of Pre-School Children, intended as a guide for pre-school educators, sets out the basic faculties necessary for harmonious personality development. Self-esteem, self-consciousness and abilities of communicating with peers and adults are developed, as basis for understanding human rights. Development of the above capabilities is part of pre-school education, whereas in primary education, human rights issues are incorporated in the ethics and world knowledge curricula. In basic education, human rights are integrated into the curricula of the fundamentals of citizenship, ethics, religion, history and other classes, while in secondary education – into the curricula of knowledge of society, history, philosophy and other classes. A separate course in the fundamentals of citizenship is a mandatory discipline in forms 9 or 10 (depending on the school’s choice). Civic education covers the entire school life, including through the incorporation of civic ideas in different disciplines, mandatory social activities for forms 5 to 10 and other informal activities.
IV. Implementation of the recommendations from the first cycle
18. The network of specialized assistance centres (hereinafter – SACs), operative since 2012 and administered by non-governmental organizations, plays an important role in reducing domestic violence in Lithuania. SACs aim to ensure the provision of specialized integrated assistance to victims of violence (victims are assisted to overcome crisis, advised what kind of help and where they can access it, helped by mediation and representation in other institutions, provided with psychological and legal support and helped to rebuild interpersonal ties with family members). Network is financed by the State. NGOs are funded through competition. In 2015, 11,432 victims of domestic violence were registered at SACs, including 1,138 persons who asked help themselves (10% of the total number of violence victims registered over 2015), while 10,294 victims (90% of the total number of violence victims registered over 2015) were reported by the police. Assistance was provided to 10,591 persons (93%), of whom 8 208 (77%) were women, 862 men (8%) and 1,521 children (14%). 812 people (0.7%) refused help or failed to be contacted. 9,171 individual assistance plans were developed for victims of violence. The most frequent services were information and consultation (in 17,018 cases), psychological support (in 4,226 cases) and legal assistance (in 2,540 cases).
C. Rights of persons belonging to national minorities
24. Roma community integration measures (88.42, 89.22, 89.26, 89.52). After the implementation of the 2012–2014 Action Plan, a sociological survey was conducted aimed at analysing changes in the situation of Roma ethnic minority since 2000 and evaluating the results of all programmes of Roma integration implemented since 2000. The decreasing illiteracy rate marks a positive change – in 2011, the number of illiterate persons and persons with incomplete elementary education in Roma group has fallen several times (from 26% in 2001 to 10%) and the share of persons with elementary education has increased (from 31 to 42%). The number of persons with basic education was also increasing (from 15 to 29%). However, negative trends are also being observed – compared to 2001 data, the share of persons with secondary or college education among Roma has decreased in 2011 (from 28 to 20%). For the first time, the 2014 survey examined the situation of Roma women. Insignificant differences in education between Roma women and men are recorded, i.e. the number of illiterate women or those with incomplete elementary education (the difference is 1%) or have only elementary education (the difference being 3%) is a little higher, and there is a slightly higher number of men with basic education (the difference being 4%). In terms of employment, the situation of women is worse than that of men. Women’s integration into the labour market is hindered by early marriage – nearly a quarter (25%) of girls have their first child while being a minor (under 18 years old). One of the positive indicators of implementation of Roma integration programme is decreasing negative attitudes towards Roma. In 2012, 66% of the population were unwilling to live in the neighbourhood of Roma; in 2013 – 62.6%; in 2014 – 58%. In view of the results of the 2014 survey, a new Action Plan for Roma Integration for 2015– 2020 has been developed.
25. Roma education, culture, health care (88.35, 88.36, 88.41, 89.22). In 2015, under the abovementioned Plan for 2015-2020, the Ministry of Education started preparing training programme to improve competencies of teachers, heads of schools, education support specialists, specialists of education units of municipal administrations and organized a professional development seminar for general education teachers working with Roma children. The Ministry of Culture and the Department of National Minorities organized non-formal education sessions for Roma children at the Roma Public Centre, summer camp, State language and computer literacy courses, financed the provision of intercultural mediation services for the Roma community living in Kirtimai area in Vilnius and allocated funds for dissemination of Roma culture. The Vilnius City Public Health Bureau provided 5 lectures for Roma women and girls on sanitary and hygiene issues and 6 lectures on healthy lifestyle.
D. Rights of the child
31. Improvement of the system for the protection of the rights of the child (88.12, 88.13, 88.35, 88.37, 89.19). Seimas is examining draft amendments to the Law on the Rights of the Child aimed to establish a model of targeted preventive and social activities for child and family. Necessary assistance, including precautionary, will enable a family to raise a child on its own, reduce the number of children raised under the childcare system, ensure provision of educational, healthcare and social services and access to such services, improve inter-institutional cooperation, coordination and provision of combined assistance to a child and a family. The amendments aim to prohibit all forms of violence against a child, including physical punishment, and to define violence against a child. In addition, the draft aims to change the procedure of taking away a child from parents or insecure environment and make it subject to judicial authorisation.
32. In 2016, Lithuania started implementing the Action Plan on the Provision of Combined Services to a Family (2016–2020). The Plan includes an objective to provide coordinated educational, social, healthcare and legal services for a child and a family assisting the family in problem solving and child care, improving the socialization of children as well as reducing social exclusion by ensuring the quality of services and availability of such services as closely as possible to the place where such a child/family resides. The provision of combined services will be funded from European Structural Funds from the 2016–2020 period. During 2016–2020, combined services will be available for 15,000 children and families.
33. Currently, the Ministry of Social Security is implementing the Action Plan for the Transition from Institutional Care to Family and Community-Based Care for Children with Disabilities and Children Deprived of Parental Care for 2014-2020. The strategic aim of the reform is to establish a system of combined services that will allow a child, a disabled child or his/her family (carers or guardians) to receive targeted services and assistance in the community and will ensure the possibility for a child deprived of parental care to grow in secure and friendly environment in a biological family or adoptive/foster family. The primary aim is to ensure harmonious environment and possibility for a child to be raised in his/her own family and possibility for a child deprived of parental care to be raised in foster family, adoptive family or group homes, as well as to receive support within the community.
34. The Council of Child Welfare was established under the Ministry of Social Security. Representatives from the Parliament of Lithuanian Schoolchildren and the Lithuania’s Schoolchildren Association are involved in its activities. The Council prepares and submits to the Government proposals on the improvement of work of State and municipal institutions and interinstitutional cooperation in the field of child welfare, encourages cooperation with NGOs and takes into consideration the opinion of children on issues of relevance to them.
35. The Ministry of Education prepares amendments to the Law on Minimum and Medium Care of the Child. The draft Law explicitly relies on the principle of human dignity to emphasise that in the course of any procedure or court proceedings children must be treated in a thoughtful, sensitive, fair and respectful manner giving special attention to their personal situation, wellbeing and special needs as well as ensuring their full physical and psychological integrity. The draft establishes stricter rules regulating application of medium care of a child and stipulates that this measure should be applied only in exceptional cases, for a period as short as possible and taking into account the interests of a child. The purpose is to ensure that children are not sent to socialization centres because of ineffective work in the field of minimum care, non-attendance at school and the like. The draft Law suggests defining the exceptional case as a situation when medium care is applied to a child below 14 years of age. This would prevent children below 14 years of age from being sent to a socialization centre without any good reason.
36. Sexual education in schools (89.51). In 2012, the Health Education Framework Programme was approved. It is implemented in all general secondary schools. In 2014, a decision was taken to merge the above programme and the optional Preparation for Family Life and Sexuality Education Programme prepared in 2007 and prepare the Health and Sexuality Education Framework Programme obligatory for all general secondary schools. In 2016, a draft of the Programme is to be submitted for public consideration.
37. Fight against sexual exploitation of children (89.20, 89.50). In 2015, Seimas adopted the Law Amending the Law on the Rights of the Child implementing the Council of Europe Lanzarote Convention and Directive 2011/93/EU on combating sexual abuse of children and child pornography. Under the law, persons who have previously been convicted of violating another person’s sexual self-determination and integrity are prohibited from work or volunteering at establishments, enterprises and organizations that provide social, educational, sports and healthcare services to children.
38. One of the key priorities of the Strategic Action Plan for 2016-2018 of the Office of the Prosecutor General is strengthening of prosecution in criminal matters concerning sexual exploitation of children.
39. Methodological Recommendations on Identification of Violence against Children were updated and can be accessed on the website of the Ministry of Health.
40. Juvenile justice. Improvement of measures protecting rights of children who have become victims of crime (88.12, 89.20). In 2015, amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code were adopted that transpose the provisions of Directive 2012/29/EU on the rights of victims of crime that concern the rights of juvenile victim.
41. In 2014, Seimas adopted amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code stipulating that in criminal matters involving criminal acts against person’s health, violation of freedom, sexual self-determination and integrity, harm to a child, family or morals when a victim is juvenile and also when in the absence of authorised representative the rights and legitimate interests of a juvenile victim would not receive proper protection, pre-trial officers, prosecutor and court are obliged to acknowledge by a grounded decision the necessity for a juvenile victim to be represented by an authorised representative (attorney) in the criminal proceedings.
42. In 2015, the Prosecutor General amended and supplemented Recommendations on Examination of Juvenile Witness and Victim aiming to oblige prosecutors and officers performing pre-trial investigation to take account of protection of child’s legitimate interests in criminal proceedings.
43. In 2015, the Office of the Prosecutor General held a seminar “Children in Criminal Proceedings” with the participation of 20 prosecutors, 10 representatives of the court (judges, their assistants), 40 police officers.
44. Better access for children to health services (88.35). The 2012-2016 Government Programme focuses on children’s health, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. During the abovementioned period all the newborns are screened for two additional inborn metabolic disorders, undergo eye red reflex examination, hearing tests, mature newborns undergo examinations on congenital heart defects.
45. In 2015, new children health check procedure requiring preventive children health checks as well as psychomotor development checks on young children (up to 4 years of age) came into effect.
46. As from 2014, funding for services provided in day-care centres that specialize in early rehabilitation of child’s developmental disorders was increased.
47. In 2015, the Ministry of Health implemented the project “Improvement of quality of health care by establishing diagnostic and treatment protocols that pose most risk for patient safety”, prepared model diagnostic and treatment protocols and made them public on its website. All Lithuania’s health care institutions can introduce and use them in everyday practice.
48. Suicide Prevention Centre, which is a subdivision of the State Mental Health Centre under the Ministry of Health, became operational in 2015. Municipalities also participate in suicide prevention. In 2016, the Vilnius City Council in line with the Mental Health Strategy adopted by Seimas, Lithuania’s Health Programme for 2014-2025 and Memorandum on Suicide Prevention of the Vilnius City Municipality adopted the 2016– 2019 Suicide Prevention Strategy for Vilnius and Strategy Implementation Action Plan for 2016 that includes allocation of funding from the Vilnius City Municipality budget.
62. Implementation of international standards on the rights of persons with disabilities at the local governance level. Municipalities take action to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities by adopting planning documents and earmarking funds to finance the required activities. E.g., Vilnius Municipality is drafting a Programme for Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities for 2016-2020. The Programme aims to ease accessibility to public and private physical environment; to ease and encourage mobility; to create opportunities to participate in public life and to engage in shaping positive public opinion on persons with disabilities; to encourage participation in labour market; to develop services network to children and adults with disabilities. Training on implementation of the CRPD is provided for municipal servants, too. In 2016, the Ministry of Justice is organising a seminar on the right of equal recognition before the law under Article 12 CRPD. Judges, lawyers, notaries, and municipality representatives, whose tasks are related to assessment of capacity of persons, as well as representatives of NGOs representing persons with disabilities, are invited. Municipalities themselves organise the required training, too. In 2016, Vilnius Municipality held training to employees and other persons on the application of the universal design principle while taking environment and product design decisions.
F. Prevention of torture at detention facilities
76. Improvement of legal acts. In 2012, Seimas ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Actions against Trafficking in Human Beings. In order to implement the Convention, the Criminal Code was amended to ensure that acts of human trafficking and sale or purchase of a child are qualified as criminal activities not only where they are committed for the purpose of exploitation of the prostitution, pornography or other forms of sexual exploitation, slavery, forced labour or services, but also where they are committed for other purposes of exploitation of begging or committing other criminal offences. The Criminal Code now also directly indicates that an individual consent to the exploitation shall not remove the responsibility of the perpetrator of human trafficking. Furthermore, criminal responsibility is foreseen for the use of labour or services of a victim of human trafficking, including prostitution, where the perpetrator knew, or ought to have known, that a person performs this work or provides services because physical violence, threats, deception or other means of breaking the will of a person were used against him.
J. Protection of the rights of victims of crime (88.12, 89.20, 89.43–44, 89.46–47)
91. In 2015, amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code and the related laws (Law on Execution of Arrest, and Penal Sanctions Enforcement Code) transposed the provisions of the Directive regarding victims’ rights in criminal proceedings, e.g., as to what information and guarantees (the right to be heard, the right to support, etc.) they should be provided with. The Criminal Procedure Code also provides for the obligation to assess all the victims of crime in terms of special protection measures they may require, with a view to ensuring adequate prevention of psychological trauma, criminal effect or other negative consequences. Juvenile witnesses or victims are subject to additional guarantees.
I. Background and framework
A. Scope of international obligations
1. Lithuania was invited to consider ratifying ICRMW9 and OP-ICESCR.10 It was recommended that Lithuania ratify OP-CRC-IC11 and the Convention against Discrimination in Education.
B. Constitutional and legislative framework
5. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended revising the draft Law on Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child to better reflect the principles and provisions of CRC, and expediting the adoption of the revised draft law and other legislative proposals in the area of children’s rights.
C. Institutional and human rights infrastructure and policy measures
Status of national human rights institutions
8. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Lithuania strengthen its support for the Office of the Children’s Rights Ombudsman, including by providing sufficient resources
III. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law
A. Equality and non-discrimination
19. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about ongoing discrimination against children in marginalized and disadvantaged situations, including children with disabilities, Roma children, children living in poverty, children living in care institutions and children in conflict with the law.
B. Right to life, liberty and security of the person
25. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about the ill-treatment of children with mental disabilities in care institutions, especially the nursing home at Venta. It recommended investigating all allegations of abuse and ill-treatment of children with mental disabilities, prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators and providing assistance for the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.
29. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expressed its concern that violence against children was increasing. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about an increase in child abuse, including of children in care institutions, and about the lack of a mechanism for children to report cases of abuse and violence against them. It was concerned that cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children remained unreported, due to a fear of reprisals and to stigmatization of the victims of such crimes, and that the level of investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse of children was insufficient.
30. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Lithuania, inter alia, prevent abuse and violence against children in all settings by ensuring the effective investigation of reports of such cases and prosecuting and punishing perpetrators accordingly, and develop a comprehensive national strategy to prevent and address all forms of violence against children.
31. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expressed its concern that corporal punishment continued to be practised as a means of discipline, particularly in the home. The Committee against Torture was concerned that corporal punishment of children in the home and in alternative and day-care settings was not legally prohibited. The Committee on the Rights of the Child and Human Rights Committee expressed similar concerns. The Committee against Torture recommended amending the legislation to prohibit and criminalize all forms of corporal punishment of children in all environments and settings.
C. Administration of justice, including impunity, and the rule of law
39. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned that there was no comprehensive juvenile justice system, including juvenile courts and comprehensive legislation on juvenile justice and with provisions for diversion mechanisms and efficient alternatives to the formal justice system.
D. Right to marriage and family life
40. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women encouraged Lithuania to repeal without delay the provisions of the Civil Code that lowered the legal age of consent to marriage.
41. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended ensuring sufficient alternative family- and community-based care options for children deprived of their family environment, and ensuring that placement in institutional care was used only as a last resort and that adequate safeguards and clear needs-based criteria upholding the best interests of the child were used to determine whether a child should be placed in institutional care.
G. Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living
47. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was concerned that 28.4 per cent of the population was at risk of poverty and that the poverty level was especially acute among children and in rural areas. The Committee on the Rights of the Child urged Lithuania to combat poverty and provide families with children who were living in poverty with the support and assistance they needed by designing public policies to address the increasing problem of child poverty. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recommended developing an effective monitoring system to ensure that measures to combat poverty led to concrete results among the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups and reduced regional disparities between rural and urban areas.
H. Right to health
50. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned that the budget allocations for maternal and child health-care programmes were decreasing, making such programmes less accessible, and that women who chose to deliver at home did not receive the assistance or care they needed during the delivery and post-partum.
51. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was concerned at the increasing rate of abortion among girls and young women between 15 and 19 years of age. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about the lack of information on sexual and reproductive health and child-friendly services available to adolescents, as well as the inaccessibility of contraception and confidential tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections.
53. It recommended ensuring that women and girls, especially women in rural areas, had access to and could afford modern contraception, and adopting the pending bills on reproductive health and assisted reproduction. It recommended that Lithuania refrain from adopting laws or amendments that would restrict the right of women to legal and safe abortion.
54. UNESCO noted that Lithuania had not yet taken steps to include sexual health education in its curricula. 106 The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights called upon Lithuania to provide age-appropriate sex and reproductive health education to boys and girls.
I. Right to education
56. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended ensuring that free education and textbooks were provided to all children in all parts of the country and that children in care institutions and penitentiary institutions were provided with the same number of hours and classes as children in regular schools.
57. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recommended identifying the causes of the gap in student achievement between rural and urban areas and taking effective measures in that regard.
58. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended establishing a system of data collection on the dropout rate from schools for all children and carrying out studies on the root causes of this phenomenon.
59. UNESCO noted that Lithuania had not yet taken steps to include human rights education in its curricula.
J. Persons with disabilities
61. It was concerned at reports that many students with disabilities were referred to and were obliged to attend special schools, due to, inter alia, a lack of reasonable accommodation and accessibility in the mainstream educational system, and reports that the special education system or home schooling remained a frequent option for children with disabilities. It recommended adopting and implementing a coherent strategy on inclusive education that, among other things, ensured the accessibility of school environments, the provision of reasonable accommodation, accessible and adapted materials and curricula, and the compulsory pre-service and in-service training of all teachers on inclusive education. The Committee on the Rights of the Child made similar observations.
64. The Committee on the Rights of the Child reiterated its previous recommendation that Lithuania continue to improve the quality and capacity of its mental health services. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recommended developing community-based services, that included peer support and other alternatives to the medical model, for persons with psychosocial problems, and allocating the necessary resources for the effective functioning of those services. Furthermore, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recommended securing access for persons with disabilities to free and affordable health-related habilitation and rehabilitation goods and services.
71. It was concerned that persons with disabilities, especially those deprived of their legal capacity, could be denied the right to marry, found a family and adopt and raise children.
74. It also expressed its concern that the amendments to the 2011 law on education had led to restrictions on the use of national minority languages in State-funded national minority schools and in State examinations.
76. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights remained concerned at the lack of progress achieved in addressing the social exclusion of Roma and discrimination against Roma. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was concerned that Roma continued to be the most disadvantaged group, facing stereotypes, prejudice and intolerance, as well as difficulties in a number of areas, such as education, access to the labour market, health care, and adequate and social housing. It was also concerned that despite efforts made by Lithuania, the illiteracy rate of Roma children A/HRC/WG.6/26/LTU/2 14 remained high and they continued to face problems such as language barriers, early school dropout and absenteeism and limited access to secondary and higher education, and that the housing conditions for Roma were inadequate, particularly in the Kirtimai settlement in the Municipality of Vilnius, where dwellings were reportedly being demolished. The Human Rights Committee and Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights made similar observations.
78. Furthermore, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recommended that Lithuania, in the context of its new action plan for Roma integration for 2015-2020, reinforce its special measures to reduce the illiteracy rate and school dropout rate and to improve the attendance of Roma children and their language skills.
L. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
85. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was concerned that the phenomenon of statelessness persisted, and that pursuant to the law on citizenship, a person could be left stateless under certain conditions. UNHCR explained that the law on citizenship did not grant automatic citizenship to children born in the country who would otherwise be stateless because of being born to parents who possessed a nationality but could not confer that nationality to their children. Following the accession of Lithuania to the 1961 Convention, residency requirements were reduced for stateless persons born in Lithuania from 10 to 5 years. However several additional requirements remained, concluded UNHCR.
86. UNHCR recommended facilitating naturalization procedures for stateless persons by, for example, reducing the number of years of residence required prior to being eligible for naturalization, expanding preparatory courses for stateless persons and reducing or waiving the fees. It recommended ensuring that all children born in Lithuania who would otherwise be stateless were automatically granted nationality.
C. Implementation of international human rights obligations
1. Equality and non-discrimination
16. JS5 noted concerns expressed regarding the potentially discriminatory application of provisions of the law on the protection of minors against the detrimental effect of public information with a view of disproportionally limiting the right to freedom of expression of LGBT persons. During the reporting period, the law was applied in three occasions with a view to censoring information related to LGBT persons, which created a chilling effect on online media outlets. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU-FRA) noted that several news websites had reportedly established a practice of branding articles related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons as adult content, thus sending a clear message that depictions of LGBTI issues qualified as information detrimental to children.
2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person
31. JS1 stated that Lithuania had toughened punishments for sexual crimes against children. However, the child protection system remained decentralised and the level of protection of children and the practices of inter-agency cooperation had varied across municipalities, resulting in fragmented and poorly coordinated practices where the interventions of the child protection services were ineffective.
32. CoE highlighted the findings of the European Committee on Social Rights (ECSR) that corporal punishment was not prohibited in the home, schools and in institutions. JS1 reported that the draft laws, prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings were rejected in 2010 and 2013. Society continued to tolerate physical abuse as a means of "disciplining" children. Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children (GIEACPC) made similar observations.
33. JS1 recommended prohibiting all forms of violence against children in all settings, including corporal punishment, and investing in programmes accessible to all parents on positive parenting methods.
37. CoE-GRETA considered that particular attention should be paid to raising awareness of new trends in human trafficking. Targeted prevention measures should be implemented for groups vulnerable to trafficking, persons with mental disabilities, children in special schools and foster homes, and men in difficult life circumstances.
38. CoE-GRETA urged Lithuania to ensure that all victims of trafficking are properly identified. Efforts should be made to improve the identification of victims of trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, and victims among foreign nationals and children. It urged Lithuania to provide support to victims of trafficking, including adequate accommodation, medical and social assistance, according to their needs.
3. Administration of justice and the rule of law
48. EU-FRA noted measures that were introduced to protect child victims during pretrial investigations and court hearings.JS1 stated that despite the introduced measures it often happened in practice that the child was "unofficially" interviewed several times before official interviews and the child might have been interviewed by more than one person. JS1 recommended ensuring that the rights and interests of the child are being protected during criminal proceedings by inter alia providing capacity building trainings to officers, judges and other professionals.
4. Right to privacy, marriage and family life
49. JS1 noted that Lithuania continued to have a large number of cases of placement of children in care institutions per year. The 2015 amendments to the Civil Code prohibited the placement of children of up to 3 years old in institutions for a longer than 3 months period and reduced the length of temporary guardianship of children in care to 1 year. While the amendments would come into force in January 2017, the preparation for their implementation had not achieved any visible progress yet. Comprehensive community based social services for children and families were lacking.
50. EU-FRA noted the adoption of an action plan for 2014-2020 that shifted care of children without parental care or with disabilities from institutions to family and community based services. However, JS1 noted that no public tenders in the field of provision of community-based services were announced since the adoption of the action plan in 2014. The implementation of the plan tended to be limited to closing down institutions rather than developing various community-based services in order to eliminate the need for institutionalized care.
51. JS1 referred to the 2014 report, indicating that the current childcare system remained inefficient and failed to ensure the best interests of the child. The results of the childcare reform, which was started in 2007 were planned to achieve by 2013. However, due to the poor planning and implementation, the results were not achieved and the implementation of the reform was postponed until 2030.
6. Right to health
54. JS2 and JS3 reported on a high suicide rate among young persons and noted the absence of a comprehensive nationwide strategy to prevent suicide among young people and psychological services for those belonging to risk groups. The infrastructure of mental health for children and youth was fragmented, human and financial resources were not sufficient and the treatment was based too much on medicines.
67. EU-FRA referred to concerns expressed that children with disabilities were included in mainstream schools without appropriate mechanism to ensure a safe environment and that educational staff sometimes advised parents of children with disabilities to place them in special schools or institutions due to the pressure from parents of children without disabilities and/or the inability of some schools to educate and include children with disabilities.
74. CoE-ACFC recommended ensuring that the quality of education in minority language schools does not suffer as a result of a disproportionate focus on the promotion of the state language and that minority language schools are adequately prepared and resourced to implement effectively the education reform without negatively affecting the overall quality of education.
79. CoE-ACFC stated that the integration of Roma children in schools remained inadequate. It noted with concern that Roma children continued to experience high dropout rates and generally lower academic achievement, particularly in Kirtimai settlement in Vilnius. JS4 made similar observations. CoE-ACFC urged Lithuania to ensure that Roma children are effectively granted equal access to quality education and that they are adequately assisted to attend mainstream schooling.
The following recommendations enjoy the support of Lithuania:
100.9 Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (Andorra) (Spain);
100.10 Consider ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (Albania);
100.34 Continue its support to the Office of the Children’s Rights Ombudsman (Georgia);
100.35 Strengthen its support to the Office of the Children’s Rights Ombudsman (Timor-Leste);
100.40 Further pursue its commitment to guaranteeing full respect for the rights of the child, in particular, children with disabilities, and guarantee that all violations of these rights, in particular allegations of abuse and ill-treatment, are brought to justice (Portugal);
100.41 Make every effort to increase the effectiveness of the protection of the rights of the child (Tajikistan);
100.42 Reinforce the measures to protect the rights of child, inter alia by expediting the adoption of the revised draft law on the fundamentals of protection of the rights of the child (Georgia);
100.47 Strengthen ongoing anti-discrimination efforts, including by amending relevant legislation in order to effectively protect women and girls from multiple or intersecting forms of discrimination (Turkey);
100.97 Protect persons, particularly women and children, against violence, exploitation and abuse (Islamic Republic of Iran);
100.113 Ensure that all allegations of abuse and violence against children are investigated, and that alleged perpetrators are effectively prosecuted (Turkey);
100.114 Adopt legislation explicitly prohibiting corporal punishment of children, including in the home, and consider awareness-raising activities to increase public knowledge about the issue (Estonia);
100.115 Take additional measures to protect children from corporal punishment and sexual crimes (Kyrgyzstan);
100.116 Develop measures to prevent child abuse and corporal punishment, to include passing the draft legislation on children’s rights (United States of America);
100.117 Prohibit all forms of violence against children in all settings, including corporal punishment, and provide for measures to enforce its prohibition (Sweden);
100.118 Strengthen the legislation in order to criminalize all forms of corporal punishment of children in all circumstances (Chile);
100.119 Establish and implement integrated strategies for the prevention of child abuse, suicide among young people and unwanted pregnancies among girls and young people (Costa Rica);
100.120 Intensify efforts to implement all measures for preventing and addressing all forms of violence against children, particularly in institutions (Montenegro);
100.122 Continue to improve the training and specialization of investigators, prosecutors and judges to tackle crimes of trafficking in persons, including with a focus on women and children (Estonia);
100.140 Ensure that young people with mental health problems have access to the highest professional consultancies and treatment methods, and promote an enabling environment for non-profit organizations working with mental health issues in relation to young people and children (Portugal);
100.147 Ensure the accessibility of school environments, the provision of reasonable accommodation, accessible and adapted materials and curricula, and the compulsory pre-service and in-service training of all teachers on A/HRC/34/9 24 inclusive education and take measures to implement the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in this regard (Finland);
100.148 Take, without delay, concrete measures for the full integration of persons with disabilities, in particular regarding access to employment, medical care reimbursement, and specific accommodation in public schools, public places and transportation (France);
100.159 Continue strengthening the comprehensive initiatives on education in favour of migrants, ethnic minorities, women and children, in particular those from Roma communities (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela);
100.161 Address all outstanding issues in the field of minority rights, including on the official use of minority languages and ensuring quality education in minority languages (Serbia);
The following recommendations do not enjoy the support of Lithuania:
100.6 Consider ratifying the International Labour Organization (ILO) Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) (Philippines);
100.11 Ratify the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) (Panama);
100.12 Consider ratifying the Convention against Discrimination in Education (Albania);
100.13 Ratify the Convention against Discrimination in Education (Panama);
100.14 Accede to the Convention against Discrimination in Education (Iraq);
100.58 Eliminate discrimination on the basis of language in the areas of education and employment (Russian Federation);
100.143 Provide proper conditions and financial means for minority language schools within the framework of the education reform without compromising the general quality of education; also in this context, adopt additional measures to ensure a sufficient transitional period for the educational reform in minority schools (Poland).