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New law censors information about homosexuality

Lithuania's parliament (the Seimas) has introduced a new law created to censor information available to children, reports Human Rights Watch. The rights group called on parliament to repeal an amendment forbidding public information encouraging "homosexual and bisexual relations".

Human Rights Watch is asking parliament to eliminate any language that could be used to restrict rights (including freedom of expression) of any group, or language that encourages discrimination, including discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Depriving young people of information they need to decide about their lives and protect their health is a regressive move," said Human Rights Watch. "Instead of protecting children, Lithuania is condemning them to ignorance, danger and fear." Also, human rights defenders working on sensitive issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity will be prevented from discussing these topics in public.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Seimas first passed the "Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information" in June. Then President Valdas Adamkus vetoed the law, later overruled by parliament. The current president Dalia Grybauskaite set up a presidential committee to review the text of the law. This committee proposed amendments to delete all discriminatory language from the text of the law. But one member introduced the new amendment, forbidding public information which encourages "homosexual and bisexual relations as well as polygamy". The majority supported this addition.

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