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The Yogyakarta Principles – a new tool for human rights

The specific objective is to empower and build the capacity of national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisation LGL as well as other national human rights NGOs to advocate for the improvement of the legal and social position of LGBT people by introducing the Yogyakarta Principles as a new tool for change.

Activities of this 12 month project will include three main components: awareness raising, advocacy at the national/regional levels and advocacy at the European level.
Activities of the project will include three main components.

Component 1. Awareness raising.

The targets of the awareness-raising in this project will be different stakeholders, such as legal practitioners, government administrations, police, educators and civil society actors. Of course, the awareness raising is interconnected with advocacy activities described below. Special focus will be given to information for the local LGBT community and media professionals.

At least two original articles about the Yogyakarta principles will be published on mainstream internet news portals – and Three press releases about the project aims and activities will be prepared and published on community internet sites as well as distributed to mainstream media.

Main products of this component will be the Guide (booklet) and poster of 1,000 copies that give advice on how to prevent discrimination against individuals on grounds of sexual orientation in accessing services and public functions. It describes the duties on those providing services to the public. It is also designed to help individuals who believe that they have been less favorably treated on grounds of sexual orientation, to understand the law and how to take a complaint of discrimination. It also aims to advance the elimination of discrimination against individuals on grounds of sexual orientation and to encourage good practice.

Component 2. Advocacy at the national / regional levels

Advocacy work needs to be based on evidence, which the method of monitoring and documentation is already provided in our ongoing project Legal Strategies for LGBT Rights in Lithuania.

The project will act as a source of objective information about sexual orientation and gender identity, aimed at combating prejudices of key decision makers and shapers, as well as the general public. The project will produce second publication - a Lithuanian version of the Yogyakarta Principles brochure of 1,000 copies aimed at politicians, civil society, media, educational professionals and legal practitioners. Publication will be distributed by the project volunteers to key decision makers at the national level, to regional decision-makers and members of human rights NGOs, and will be used during educational events at both regional and national levels. It will also be made available in accessible format on the internet.

The project coordinators will combine presentation of the main project publications with educational events, such as seminars and workshops for relevant groups. The project will develop the content and methodology of these seminars, and will train its regional coordinators in facilitation. The LGL will organize 2 1-day seminars at the national level (in Vilnius) for key professional groups: journalists, psychologists, civil society leaders and educational workers. The project coordinators will conduct three workshops in each of the three regional centers – Klaipeda, Panevezys and Siauliai. Each seminar is expected to have 20 participants.

One special information campaign will be conducted at the national level in 2010: The Week against Homophobia during the Baltic Pride in Vilnius to commemorate the International Day against Homophobia (17th of May). Similar campaign has already been conducted by the LGL in 2007, and has proven to be instrumental in attracting media attention and work on changing public opinion. For increased media and public attention, small public demonstration of Baltic Pride will be organized in Vilnius, if assessments of the safety of participants are positive.

Component 3. Advocacy at the European level

The project will seek that human rights violations against LGBT people in Lithuania are mentioned in reports of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe monitoring reports, statements by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, EU human rights dialogues, etc.

At the Council of Europe level LGL is already cooperating with Rapporteurs of the Assembly's Monitoring Committee and will bring to their attention details of human rights violations in Lithuania, with a view to persuading them to propose appropriate Recommendations to the Assembly. This should include any issues on which Lithuania does not observe the jurisprudence of the ECHR.

LGL through ILGA-Europe already has strong contacts in the European Parliament, and they will be asked for support in relation to any issues arising from the project. For the purposes of the project an ‘EU-contact list’ will be developed with all relevant contacts at the European Commission, European Parliament, the European Council, etc.

The evidence of discrimination collected by our another project Legal Strategies for LGBT Rights in Lithuania participants will be used as a follow-up input to European Commission for its monitoring reports, European Parliament for the Parliamentary reports on human rights, European Council for the Presidency, in the context of its human rights activities.

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