bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 22.11.2017 | Name days: Aldis, Alfons, Aldris
LithuaniaLithuania

Lithuania outlaws all violence against children, including corporal punishments

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Lithuania’s parliament has overwhelmingly voted for amendments to the Law on Children’s Rights Protection, which now bans all types of violence against children, including corporal punishments.

The amendments encompass all types of violence against children, including physical, psychological, and sexual and negligence. The law stipulates that parents and other legal guardians of child or children, as well as the state must ensure their protection.

Law amendments followed a horrible crime

The legislation was swiftly spearheaded by MPs Mykolas Majauskas and Dovile Šakalienė after a four-year boy was brutally beaten to death by his stepfather in rural Lithuania in late January.

The changes on the parliamentary floor were voted unanimously, with 116 Lithuanian lawmakers voting in support. The vote triggered a wave of applause in the Seimas hall and drew praises both from Lithuanian parliamentarians, NGOs and human rights watchdogs from all over.

«Unfortunately, we passed the law amendments only in the wake of the horrible tragedy in Kėdainiai ( the slain boy’s  stepfather was reportedly high on drugs during the crime- L.J.). You know, a normal society and healthy society does not abandon its motherland in the numbers we do and that Lithuania is notorious for. A healthy society does not murder, abuse alcohol and torment its children. We do, unfortunately. We have to acknowledge, however, that we represent quite a traumatized, unhealthy society,» Aurelijus Veryga, the Lithuanian minister of Health and psychiatrist by profession, accentuated in his speech to fellow parliamentarians before the historic voting.

Different take on children’s rights

Although the killing of the boy in Kėdainiai has hushed the critics of children corporal punishment and those who insist that the parents themselves have to be allowed to decide what punishment suits their child best, Lithuanian Social Security and Labour Minister Linas Kukuraitis believes that all views on children’s rights and emphasizing importance of the role of family have been considered.

«The atmosphere that lingered in my office after hammering out some crucial joint provisions on the new redaction of the Law on Children’s Rights Protection was euphoric,» the minister recalled. He calls the adopted bill «Matas’ reform.» Matas is the name of the murdered Kėdainiai boy.

«Now, that the law amendments have been passed, I talk to the boy and keep telling him: “Saint Matas, continue your work in the heavens, so that all feel and live better in Lithuania.»

Kukuraitis told Lithuanian media that he has promised the boy, who, for many, epitomizes violence against children in Lithuania, to do all he can as the minister to prop up children’s right protection in Lithuania.

According to the minister, the stiff competition between the different takes on the issues – both in the parliament and in the general public – is partly to blame for the current inexcusable inaction in children’s rights protection.

«The first approach is that children must grow in an environment that is the most favourable to them and the second, family-cantered approach is that the family is the most favourable environment not only for children, but also for all of its members…. A discussion at Social Security and Labour Ministry has shown that these two approaches can be reconciled,» he told lawmakers.

Praises pouring in

With the overwhelming vote for the amendments, praises were pouring in from all over.

«I welcome today’s vote by the Seimas in Lithuania to ban all forms of violence against children, including corporal punishments,» the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks said in his Twitter post.

According to Human Rights Watch, by becoming the 52nd country worldwide to impose this kind of ban Lithuania has sent an important message that no violence against children would be tolerated.

«This is a very positive development for Lithuanian children. It sends a clear and important message that any form of violence against children cannot be tolerated,» Bede Sheppard, deputy director in the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, was quoted as saying. «By banning all forms of corporal punishment, Lithuania joins a growing community of countries that recognize that this practice violates children’s rights and their physical integrity,» he added.

The legal amendments were adopted during an extraordinary session held in response to the tragedy in Kėdainiai.

Courts tend to exonerate violent parents

Matas’ homicide has shaken all Lithuania, but the country’s chief prosecutor pays attention to the fact, however, that Lithuanian courts tend to often vindicate parents for violence against underage children.

«I have to admit that certain court rulings where physical violence against underage children is interpreted as parents’ right to discipline their children raises questions for prosecutors,» Evaldas Pašilis, Lithuania’s Prosecutor General, told MPs before the voting.

In his presentation to the Seimas of the situation of violence against underage individuals and steps proposed by prosecutors, he emphasized that the practice was formulated by the Supreme Court of Lithuania. In the prosecutor general’s words, the court on February 24 last year upheld the vindication of a father who had beat up his child.

«Another example is the father who was cleared of charges by a panel of judges of a Kaunas court and whose multiple violent actions were treated as efforts to discipline and educate his teenage son. Let’s hope that adoption of the changes to the Framework Law on Children’s Rights Protection will eliminate questions about the right to discipline children by way of corporal punishment,» the chief prosecutor noted.

In his words, about 2,800 underage individuals suffer from various deeds in Lithuania every year, including about 1,000 minors who suffer from their parents, stepparents, adoptive parents or close relatives. According to data available to Pašilis, six small children and 15 infants were killed in their close environment over the past five years.

Heartened by the adoption of the amendments, he believes now that the brushed up law will prevent child abuse in Lithuania.

The law and secondary legislation aim at centralizing Lithuania’s rights protection system and setting out general guidelines for how authorities should act when they get worrying signals about a family.

It will take time to harness violence

Speaking to BNN, Jurgita Vanagė, the mother of two sons and advisor to mayor of the resort of Palanga in western Lithuania, expressed conviction that the amendments were necessary, but doubted whether the law changes will wipe out violence against children in Lithuania.

«Frankly, I doubt it as violence is embedded deep in our society, unfortunately. The understanding that it is bad and cannot be tolerated does not come with a stroke of the pen. You may find hard it to believe but we have never in our family slapped the buttocks of our children as the punishment. Many parents out there, however, believe that corporal punishment serves good. Again, it will take time to get the perception changed,» Vanagė underscored.

Ref: 111.111.103.4634


Leave a reply

Jerošenko: Ušakovs offers unhealthy policy, Concord is used as Lembergs’ «satellite party»

«Cooperation between Concord [also known as Harmony] and Airvars Lembergs’ Union of Greens and Farmers has always existed. It existed even before Concord first appeared in Riga City Council. The situation is the same in the Saeima, even though Concord is in the opposition. Still, in situations when one or the other matter important to Lembergs appears, one does not have to be a great politologist to notice the ties between those parties...

Bosnian Serb commander punished with life imprisonment for Srebrenica

The UN the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia handed a life imprisonment sentence to Ratko Mladić after it found the former commander of Bosnian Serb forces guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the 1990s during the Bosnian War.

EC positive about Latvia’s 2018 budget project

Based on the conclusion from the European Commission, Latvia’s budget project for 2018 fully fits conditions listed in the Stability and Growth Pact. In accordance with EC’s estimates, the structural balance of Latvia’s general budget is viewed at -1.8% of GDP. Government budget expenditures, on the other hand, are expected to grow by 7.1 percentage points.

Producer price level in Latvia declined 0.2% in October

Compared to September, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry dropped by 0.2 % in October 2017. Prices of products sold on the domestic market decreased by 0.5 %, while prices of exported products went up by 0.1 %.

Vaškevičs feels «harsh but fair» attitude from court justice system in Austria

Former deputy director of Latvia’s State Revenue Service Vladimirs Vaškevičs, who is accused of bribery and whose extradition from Austria has been a priority for Latvian authorities for some time now, says he feels «harsh but, thank God, fair» attitude from the Austrian court justice system.

Antāne: lost Russian cargoes have cost Latvia nearly 50 million in nine months

Latvia’s economy has lost nearly EUR 50 million in nine months because of missed Russian transit cargoes. While Russian Railway had approved 90% of oil and coal cargoes for transit through Ventspils port at the beginning of the year, this amount had declined to a mere 5% by September, says Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antāne.

In pictures: Museum of painter, Holocaust survivor Bak opened in Vilnius

In Vilnius, a museum to Jewish-Polish painter Samuel Bak has been opened. During the occupation of Lithuania by the Nazi Germany, the artist survived the Holocaust in the country.

Ratio of old people and invalids on a rise among unemployed people

The total number of unemployed people has been decreasing in recent years. However, the ratio of old people and invalids continues increasing in the ranks of unemployed people. On top of that, the number of lasting unemployed people remains high and largely unchanged in the country.

Saaremaa looking into possible ferry traffic to Latvia

The local government of the largest Estonian island is looking into possible interest of five shipping companies in opening ferry traffic between Saaremaa and Latvia.

Balta: exhaustion and overload are the most common causes for accidents at work

More than EUR 20,000 has been paid in compensations for injuries acquired at work this year so far, according to information from insurance association Balta. Compared with the same period of last year, the number of accidents has grown 40%.

Estonian town tempts population to reregister with spa in Latvia and 100 euro payment

The town of Keila, located 25 kilometres away from Tallinn, has started a one-and-a-half month campaign to motivate its residents to register back in the town as many of them have registered in the Estonian capital, which grants free public transport to its population.

EU to impose fine to Poland if logging in Białowieża forest not stopped

The European Court of Justice has issued to Poland a 15-day deadline to provide proof that the country has fulfilled the court's ruling to quit logging in the ancient Białowieża forest threatening with a daily fine of 100 000 euros if it fails to prove this.

Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks: building restoration will be next year’s priority

Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks plans to focus on improving technical state of its managed buildings. The company plans to restore several dozen buildings next year and up to 100 buildings a year in the next five years, says RNP chairman Aivars Gontarevs.

LCB: even deputies should fulfil their promises

Latvijas ceļu būvētājs, which is an association in Latvia with ties to multiple road and bridge construction companies, invites deputies to support the proposal for the restoration of the State Road Fund, BNN was told by the association’s chairman Andris Bērziņš.

Russia rejects claims of nuclear accident despite radioactive cloud over France

Russia has stated that a nuclear accident has not taken place in its territory although its weather service has found high amounts of traces of a radioactive isotope.

Study: taxes for business in Latvia – the most attractive among Baltic States

Latvia’s tax system is the most attractive among Baltic States and 13th most attractive among 190 countries of the world, according to the latest study performed by the World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers on tax systems around the world.

Turkish journalist punished with prison term for tweet

A court in Turkey has sentenced on Tuesday, November 21, a journalist from opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet to three years behind bars over accusations of spreading terrorist propaganda in relation to a post on Twitter, which had been briefly on the microblogging site this spring.

Latvia – 35th country in the world ICT development-wise

This year Latvia reached 35th place in the world in terms of development of information and communication technologies, as mentioned in the latest report by UN International Telecommunication Union.

Instant payment infrastructure comes online in Europe

On Tuesday, 21 November, instant payment infrastructure will be introduced across Europe. On top of that, European banks’ founded EBA Clearing will also introduce its RT1 instant payment system. The European-level solution has also been coordinated with the instant payment processing infrastructure prepared by the Bank of Latvia in August 2017, as reported by the bank.

Police dismantle criminal group that caused damage worth seven million euros to the state

Latvian State Revenue Service’s Finance Police dismantled a criminal group in November 2017. A total of 34 searches were performed and two people were found suspect. The criminal group performed tax avoidance and money laundering operations, causing damages worth nearly seven million euros to the state, BNN was informed by SRS.

Zariņš: deputies who vote for the state budget without amendments will have breached their vows

It is unacceptable for the Saeima coalition to follow the Cabinet of Ministers and like the Cabinet of Ministers breach laws during the budget approval process, says Saeima member Ivars Zariņš, adding that deputies who vote for the budget without amendments will thereby have to breach the vow they had previously made to the Latvian nation.

Estonia’s ruling Centre Party shows door to 31 competing members

The leadership of Estonia's Center Party has accepted the proposals of the party's local branches on fellow members, who ran in the Estonian municipal elections this autumn from a separate list, and expelled 31 members from the political party.

Pabriks: state interests should be held higher than party interests

Latvia cannot be allowed to drown in provincialism. It is in the country’s interest to maintain a course towards European and NATO values. In a situation when the number of centric and European-oriented parties is large, it is becoming harder and harder, because it leads to political fragmentation, and the main goal of it is reaching the 5% barrier during elections, not ensuring growth and development for Latvia, says MEP Artis Pabriks.

Reacting to e-commerce growth, Omniva rushes to expand its parcel locker network

Estonian state-owned postal company Eesti Post, which operates the Omniva brand, stated that it will broaden its network of parcel lockers expand its current parcel machines up until Christmas.

Programme: introduction of ‘honest’ taxi counters is stuck

Taxi drivers that had to replace their counters as far back as 15 October, continue delaying the process, as reported by De Factor with reference to State Revenue Service.