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Kubilius defends nation following human rights criticism

Mar 24, 2010
Oskars Magone

Kubilius defends nation following human rights criticism
Controversy surrounds this year's gay pride parade as some lawmakers work to have the event banned.

VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has stood up to defend the country following allegations from the EU of widespread homophobia.

Earlier this week Seimas member Petras Grazulis has received a letter from the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights criticising his recent outspoken attempts to block the country's Gay Pride Parade. The letter was signed by Ulrike Lunacek and Michael Cashman, the co-presidents of the group, and was sent in response to the controversy surrounding the Pride Parade, scheduled for May 8.

"We write to you not in defiance or anger, but in sadness following the decision by Mr Grazulis to attempt to cancel the planned Baltic Pride event,” the letter said.

The country has also recently come under fire from human rights groups for a nationalist parade that took place on March 11. One faction of the parade shouted homophobic chants.

In a radio interview with private broadcaster Ziniu Radijas, Kubilius said that Lithuania was no more homophobic than scandinavian countries.

"In my personal opinion, Lithuania is tolerant enough a country, in comparison to such countries like Norway or Denmark, and you can neither call it Nazi, nor homophobic,” Kubilius said.

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