- Ambassador Zygimantas PavilionisLithuanian Ambassador to the United States
Can We Hope for Change in 2014?
“The UN Human Rights Committee Calls on Lithuania for More Answers, More Action”
Geneva 11 July 2012
The United Nations Human Rights Committee finalized the examination of the 3rd periodic report of Lithuania, which took place on 10 and 11 July 2012 in Geneva.
“The Human Rights Committee expressed grave concern about past demonstrations led by neo-Nazis, who openly displayed swastikas. The State referenced the freedom of assembly, but was reminded by the Committee that freedoms of assembly and expression are not absolute rights – they must be managed by the State when they are in violation of human rights.”
[Excerpt from the 11 July 2012 UN Human Rights Report, Geneva] full text: http://www.ccprcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/LITHUANIA-11-July.pdf
2014: FOR THE SEVENTH TIME since 2008 a neo-Nazi march will parade through the heart of Vilnius on March 11, Independence Day, one of the most significant days for the proud people of Lithuania -- the nation which recently completed its tenure as President of the Council of the European Union. In its application for EU membership, Lithuania pledged to honour the EU mandate of human rights. Can the European Union tolerate this broken promise?
As a democratic EU/NATO state, Lithuania must permit freedom of expression. But which other European democracy allows its fascist minority to take over its capital city on its most sacred day of the year? Which other European democracy turns her head the other way when neo-Nazis morph into "patriots"? If permitted by the government, their display will be taken by extremists throughout Europe as a stamp of growing approval of neo-Nazi activities and a signal that the murder of 95% of Lithuania's Jewry during the Holocaust is taken lightly by today's government. Is this a fitting position for the young EU democracy?
Help ban this blemish on a day dedicated to the celebration of the internationally acclaimed bravery of the March 11 1990 declaration of independence that was and continues to be a source of inspiration to all nations seeking freedom from oppression and foreign domination. Allow Lithuania a Day of Dignity. Please help combat racism and anti-Semitism with your signature.
[Photo: 2012 neo-Nazi march in Vilnius. "Lietuva Lietuviams!" = "Lithuania for Lithuanians!" Inset, upper left-hand corner: “Designer” swastika legal in Lithuania for public display]
NOTE: KAUNAS TOO!
On Feb. 16, 2014, a neo-Nazi march is scheduled to work its way through the entire center of Kaunas on the first of the country's two independence days. Your signature on this petition this year includes BOTH neo-Nazi marches: Kaunas Feb. 16th and Vilnius March 11th, appealing to the Lithuanian government to ban these fascist demonstrations on Lithuania's days of independence.
Please consider also signing two other important petitions:
Please see www.DefendingHistory.com for more reading.
- Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States
Ambassador Zygimantas Pavilionis
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Ambassador Zygimantas Pavilionis (Lithuanian Ambassador to the US)
Dear Ambassador Pavilionis,
It is my understanding that the annual neo-Nazi parade in Vilnius will occur again on March 11, 2014, the seventh consecutive event in Lithuania's recent history. As in past years, the participants will proceed from Cathedral Square along Gedimino Prospect to Lukiskiu Square during prime time.
What kind of message is a neo-fascist march on the main boulevard in the center of the capital of an EU/NATO/OSCE member nation, proceeding legally on the nation's Independence Day? It is particularly shameful since Lithuania has just completed its term of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. You were honourably granted EU membership on the commitment that you will observe the culture of human rights, a pledge you made in your application for EU membership. Now that pledge is a broken promise.
Last year the participants in the march displayed fascist symbols and chanted Nazi German slogans. A repeat performance in 2014 would be a chilling forecast of a spreading malignancy among Lithuania's youth -- a malignancy sanctioned by the government.
On one of the proudest and most meaningful days of the Lithuanian calendar, these affronts serve as terrifying and painful memories for the country's small minorities of Jews and Roma, and to ethnic Russians, Poles and others who have been targets of abominable chants in previous years. They are also insults to all decent Lithuanian citizens as well as blemishes on their government who will tolerate these indignities. It is an affront to the free world that can only cause damage to Lithuania's standing in the world.
Please ensure that the permits for the march will be revoked. Please ban these neo-Nazi parades from the beautiful streets of the magnificent capital of Vilnius.
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