In August 2012, an informal group of Lithuanian NGOs submitted alternative report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on the children’s rights situation in Lithuania. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is now considering the shadow report in its preliminary session in Geneva. The third and fourth State periodic reports will be considered in 2013.
The shadow report, prepared by independent NGOs active in human rights and children’s rights field, discusses the most important child’s rights protection issues in recent years in Lithuania and makes specific recommendations on how to fill in the existing gaps and to improve the current system.
Despite all the investments and achievements in health and social care system in the first decade of re-esablished independence of Lithuania, today there is a strong lack of political will and adequate systematic solutions to properly implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Lithuania. The main issues are the following: strong and rigid institutional child care system; ineffective family social support system that does not provide the necessary assistance and discriminate vulnerable children; non-existence of formal inter-institutional mechanisms that would ensure effective implementation of child care, child-friendly legal proceedings, necessary assistance to violence victims or complex assistance to young people using drugs; lack of appropriate and available assistance for children with disabilities; lack of sexual education and confidential services for young people.
Alternative report also expresses concern on the draft of a new Law on Child Protection, which is based on narrow concept of child protection and treats a child as an object rather as owner and subject of human rights. This draft law is to replace the current Law on Fundamentals of Child Rights Protection and instead of improving the current regulation (e.g., in banning all forms of violence against the child, including corporal punishment) it narrows the scope of protection and is focused only on protection of children from families at risk.
Non-governmental organizations encourage the government to pay more attention to the protection of children’s rights, improve the current Law on Fundamentals of Child Rights Protection, legally eliminate all forms of violence against children, including corporal punishments, develop alternative child care, establish formal assistance mechanisms for victims of violence, prioritise the issue of children mental welfare, create a child-friendly legal, reproductive health and sexual education services for children and young people.
Alternative report for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was prepared by the following NGOs: Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Global Initiative on Psychiatry, SOS Children‘s Villages Lithuania, Children Support Center, Lithuanian Students’ Parliament, Child Line, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network, Lithuanian Welfare Society for Persons with Mental Disability “Viltis”, Coalition “I Can Live”, Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Center for Attachment Parenting.