Racism in Lithuania

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Racism in Lithuania appears mainly in the form of negative attitudes and actions towards people who are not considered ethnically Lithuanian, especially if the foreigner is of different race. According to the data provided by the Centre for Ethnic Studies, Roma people, Chechens, refugees and Muslims are regarded with disfavour most of all in Lithuania.[1] Antisemitist as well as Antipolish[2] sentiments are also very strong in Lithuania. However, recent research showed that Lithuanians themselves claim to be tolerant.[3] The problem of racism, which is deep in the country, is still not widely admitted, although the Government itself has put some effort to reduce xenophobia in Lithuania. Since the mid-2000s the Law on Equal Opportunities forbids any direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of racial or ethnic origin, gender, religion, nationality or belonging to any other group.[1]

The approximate number of xenophobic acts is not known in Lithuania, but the level of racism varies depending on the region. According to the journalist I. Larionovaitė, Klaipėda should be considered the most racist town in Lithuania,[4] since it is the only city which is not a signatory of a program for refugees, accepted by the Government.

There was one incident where an individual was killed because of his ethnic background. In 2007 a refugee from Somalia Gulaid Abdiaziz Salahas legally living in Klaipeda was severely beaten after he had spoken up about the racism in Lithuania to the media. He died in the hospital some weeks later.[5]

The government does not approve of racism[citation needed]. During the municipal elections a right-winged party Jaunoji Lietuva made the following slogan: "Be žydrų(žydras=gay(žydra-light blue color, for Lithunians light blue color is the same as purple or pink for foreigners)) , juodų, raudonų ir be taboro čigonų" (Without gays, blacks and reds, as well as Gypsies from Tabor).[6] The party itself explained that the word "black" stood for money laundering.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Responding to racism in Lithuania (European Network Against Racism, pdf)
  2. ^ "One-in-two Lithuanians don’t want a Pole living next door". PolskieRadio. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  3. ^ "Racism in Lithuania". Baltictimes.com. 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  4. ^ Rasizmas Lietuvoje – su valdžios palaiminimu
  5. ^ Eglė Digrytė. "Lietuvės ir afrikiečio gyvenimą apkartino rasistai ir biurokratija - DELFI Žinios". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  6. ^ "Jaunoji Lietuva - Be žydrų, juodų, raudonų ir be taboro čigonų". Videopasaulis.lt. 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 

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