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It is shameful that the EU’s six million Roma still face systematic discrimination, and are often targets of racially motivated violence. Lithuania now can and must ensure that the expected Council recommendations on Roma integration measures tackle discrimination and guarantee Roma participation at all levels of decision-making
Lithuanian EU presidency: two months left to defend human rights
(Brussels, 29 October 2013) Amnesty International’s mid-term review of Lithuania’s presidency of the European Union, published today, reveals slow progress on human rights. The organisation appreciates the presidency’s continued engagement on the rule of law and welcomes Lithuania’s steps to promote Roma integration strategies, as well as its accessibility to civil society. However, Lithuania has failed to place human rights at the centre of its migration strategies and has shied away from addressing EU involvement in CIA renditions and secret detention centres.
“It is shameful that the EU’s six million Roma still face systematic discrimination, and are often targets of racially motivated violence. Lithuania now can and must ensure that the expected Council recommendations on Roma integration measures tackle discrimination and guarantee Roma participation at all levels of decision-making”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
Amnesty International criticises the presidency’s failure to take concrete action to protect migrants’ rights and lives at Europe’s borders.
“Events like the recent Lampedusa tragedy reveal the human cost of Europe’s inadequate migration policies. We are deeply alarmed that no concrete steps have yet been taken to prevent the hundreds of men, women and children seeking a safe life in Europe from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. The time to act is now: the EU and member states must take swift and robust action to prevent further loss of life”, said Beger.
Lithuania has also not taken the opportunity to put pressure on the Council to acknowledge collective responsibility for EU complicity in CIA renditions.
“Victims of CIA renditions in Europe deserve justice. We are profoundly disappointed by Lithuania’s refusal to reopen investigations into secret CIA detention centres on its own soil, even in the light of the new case of Mustafa al-Hawsawi”, added Beger.
If the EU is to uphold its role as a credible human rights body, it must actively address these issues.
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