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Published 2013 06 11, 17:36

Lithuanian Prime Minister: Ratification of Council of Europe's anti-violence convention still unclear

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius says it's not clear whether Lithuania will ratify the controversial Council of Europe's Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, even though the Cabinet has already endorsed it and Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius signed it last week.
Algirdas Butkevičius
Algirdas Butkevičius / Juliaus Kalinsko / 15min nuotr.

After the minister signed the convention, the Seimas (parliament) is still expected to decide on its ratification.

"If somebody looked into what the government discussed, so it discussed only the statement which said, before Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius signed the convention, that during our discussions with various organizations and at various levels before the ratification of that convention, it's not clear whether it will be ratified, we said that we are going to follow our Constitution. And there cannot really be another family definition or definitions of other things, if they run counter to our Constitution," Butkevičius told the Lithuanian Radio on Tuesday.

In his words, discussions on the convention will start as early as this week and are held by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor.

The Cabinet stated last week that "Lithuania will apply the convention's provisions in accordance with principles and norms enshrined in the Constitutions of the Republic of Lithuania."

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has noted that Lithuania should assume international obligations in fighting violence.

One of the provisions of the convention states that "the implementation of the provisions of this Convention by the Parties, in particular measures to protect the rights of victims, shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, state of health, disability, marital status, migrant or refugee status, or other status."

The Lithuanian Bishops' Conference has called on Lithuanian leaders against signing and ratifying the convention which, in their opinion, proposes the notion of gender that goes against nature.

The convention defines gender as "the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men."

The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on May 11, 2011, in Istanbul. 25 countries have signed the convention and three have ratified it.

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