Monthly Archives: January 2015

Lithuanian MP Warns LGBT* Human Rights Defenders about “Massacre [as] in Paris”

On January 18th, 2015 the Member of the Lithuanian Parliament Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas publicly warned the Board Chair of the national LGBT* human rights association LGL that the organization is “playing with fire” and that its activities might result in a “black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response” similar to that which “happened in Paris.” The statement by the MP was issued as a response to the organization’s humour-based suggestion to store 10-litas notes as LGBT* souvenirs

A.-Patackas-356x210In the message, initially published by the right-wing news portal, the MP accused the LGL’s Board Chair Vladimir Simonko of “provocation” that might result in “dead bodies”. “For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response. Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye”, i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris” – warned the MP. As a result, the MP Patackas urged the Board Chair of the national LGBT* organization to “cancel the provocation”.

LGL has immediately approached the national law enforcement officials with the request to investigate comprehensively the truthfulness of the alleged threats to the organization. According to the LGL’s Board Chair Vladimir Simonko, the news were highly disturbing. “Despite the fact that this message is directed to me as the head of the organization, all staff members view this message with great unease. If these allegations are real, we place our trust in the national authorities. If this is some sort of a “joke”, I believe that the MP Patackas has very poor sense of humour, which is totally unacceptable in the light of recent tragic events in France,” – said Mr. Simonko. LGL is of the position that in case the MP Patackas has any information about planned attacks against the organization or its staff members, he must share this information with the law enforcement officials immediately.

The MP Patackas is the author of the controversial draft amendment to the Lithuanian Criminal Code, removing criminal liability for homophobic hate speech. The proposed amendment states that the “criticism of sexual behavior or sexual practices, convictions or beliefs, or persuasion to change this behavior, practices, convictions or believes cannot be per se qualified as harassment, humiliation, incitement to hatred, discrimination or incitement to discriminate.” On December 16th, 2014 the draft bill was returned to its drafter for the improvement.

Thereby the translation of the full message by the MP Patackas is provided in English.

“A. Patackas. A warning to citizen Simonko

An announcement appeared in the press that LGBT and his leader, that is Simonko, intends to distribute ten litas banknotes with a playful note that Darius and Girėnas are gay. If two men standing next to each other seem to appear to be gay, there is a name for it – paranoia. „LNK“ television also spoke about this intention in an overly playful, supposedly indignant tone, and mocked exasperated Gražulis, but not the author of this provocation. This piece of news, however is not playful, it threatens with no less miserable consequences as the recent massacre in Paris. Everything there also began in a playful manner but ended with dead bodies, because words hurt like a knife.

Will there be another attempt to “expand the boundaries of freedom of speech“? We say in advance – it will fail. Lithuania is not France where in the Parisian Bastille and the communes the heads of Marie Antoinette and Robespierre Marije were chopped, many priests were killed, nuns were desecrated, and where the secularist state recently revealed its black side. Lithuania was not all that (except Carine and Soviet periods, but the occupants did it). Lithuania has its heroes, noble men to respect by every normal Lithuanian for their deed and especially for their testament for young Lithuania that will remain of eternal value.

This is why citizen Simonko must be warned – stop, it is neither witty nor playful – you are playing with fire. For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response. Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye”, i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris. (emphasized by author) And hardly anyone in Lithuania would bear an inscription “I am Simonko“. Fight to satiety for your colored rights – every citizen is entitled for it by democracy – but in a civilized, non-provocative way.

And still, who are you, citizen Simonko, to dare to make fun of a fellow citizen, his sacredness and values? Who taught you and what values were instilled by your family? You live in Lithuania, but you speak Lithuanian with an accent, apparently you first heard of Darius and Girėnas when their images appeared on the litas. But you are a citizen of Lithuania, so you must always act responsibly and civilly.

So, wishing namely citizenship based on common sense, but insisting to cancel the provocation, disrespectfully – the author.”

Source: LGL

Statement on Nigel Warner’s inclusion in New Year’s Honours List 2015

ILGA-Europe extends our warmest congratulations to close friend and colleague Nigel Warner who was included in the New Year’s Honours list, announced on 30 December 2014.

The awards recognise an individual’s outstanding personal achievement, service or bravery and are usually presented by the reigning British monarch, following advice from the government. Nigel was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his tireless work in support of the LGBTI community, both in Europe and internationally.

Photo: ILGA Europe

Photo: ILGA Europe

Nigel has contributed to ILGA-Europe’s work throughout much of its existence, with involvement in the early campaigning of the organisation in the late 1970s and 80s, acting as treasurer from 1986 to 1993, preparing its first applications for consultative status at the Council of Europe and at the Economic and Social Council of the UN in the late 1980s, and helping develop ILGA-Europe into a professional, funded organisation in the early 2000’s. He served on the board of ILGA-Europe as treasurer from 2000 to 2005. He currently serves as ILGA-Europe’s Council of Europe Advisor, a position he has held since 1998.

Nigel led ILGA-Europe’s work in advocating for the world’s first-ever comprehensive intergovernmental agreement on LGBT rights, namely the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on LGBT rights in 2010. Paulo Corte Real, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, remarked: “In his work at the Council of Europe, Nigel has earned the respect of fellow advocates and Council of Europe staff alike for his sound expertise, his thorough analysis and constructive contributions. But even more importantly, he ensures that the voices of LGBTI people are heard in all debates. His dedication is unparalleled.”

Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe Executive Director, also commented: “Speaking as a colleague, Nigel is someone I admire hugely. He has been at the forefront of the LGBTI movement for decades and continues to be an unwavering supporter for LGBTI activists across Europe, consistently sharing his knowledge and empowering them to advocate for their own rights. And speaking as a friend, rarely have I met someone of such integrity, kindness and humility. This is why Nigel is a role model for so many of us”.

Heartfelt congratulations to Nigel from the staff, interns and board members of ILGA-Europe. We simply cannot thank you enough.