Augustas Didžgalvis

World News


Lithuania Violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

DELFI, the major Internet portal in the Baltic States providing daily news, stated on September 10th that the number of emigrants from Lithuania exceeded migration numbers by 1,000 in August. Shocking statistics show that the country has registered a negative migration balance. Some 4,382 people left Lithuania in August. Thus, Lithuanians are leaving the country despite authorities’ claims about economic growth and stability.

On the one hand, according to “Lithuanian economy review – 2017,” GDP growth in Lithuania has accelerated. In 2017, as compared to the previous year, Lithuania’s GDP increased by 3.8 percent. On the other hand, this fact contravenes the increasing number of emigrants.

What is making Lithuanians decide to leave their homeland? The answer lies on the surface.

Lithuanians are not satisfied with their standards of living. For example, a survey of public opinion and market research conducted by “Baltijos tyrimai” reveals that Lithuanians still haven’t accepted the euro. The poll conducted in July shows that more than 46% of Lithuanians blame the European currency for lowering their living standards. In other words, they do not agree with the authorities’ decision to adopt the euro.

People compare their lives to those in other European countries and the comparison is not favorable. The words and promises are not fulfilled and corruption flourishes. A Freedom House document, “Freedom in the World 2018,” reports that “the major problem for Lithuania’s democracy – corruption – continued to dominate the public sphere, as a series of scandals plagued members of the parliament and public institutions.” Even Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has called on lawmakers not to waste their time squabbling.

Officials, who today name themselves democrats, did not manage to get rid of Soviet thinking and behaviour. When they get political power they forget about their duties.

Thus, Lithuanians are wary of a new agreement on the country’s defense policy for the next decade signed by Lithuania’s parliamentary parties last week. The document calls for joint efforts to resist “irresponsible speculation that sets defense funding in opposition to other sensitive areas.” This means that Lithuanians do not have the right to decide where to allocate their taxes. They do not have the right to speak on this topic and express their opinions if they contradict the official point of view. In essence, Parliament has ignored basic human rights. Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

An ordinary person cannot resolve why television and government-controlled media describe his country differently than the way he sees it. Freedom House states also that “Regional economic disparities remain acute. The minimum wage remains one of the lowest within the EU, and the share of the population at risk of poverty and social exclusion is a little over 30 percent.”

This discrepancy forces Lithuanians to seek a better life abroad, usually in Old Europe. More than 20 years of expectation is too much. Life is too to wait for changes.