Kevin Hamilton, Canada’s chargé d’affaires at its embassy in Vilnius, published a bold letter today in the daily Respublika, in response to a typically homophobic article in the popular newspaper. The original article (published 25 March), in the spirit of contemporary East European far-right discourse, tried to intentionally confuse Equal Rights for sexual minorities with pedophilia, and to give the impression that Canada supports the latter too.
Moreover, the force of his letter compelled Respublika to issue a rare (if rather half-hearted) retraction, printed in the form of a reply underneath his letter. For a sampling of Respublika’s homophobia and antisemitism, see an image of their 2009 front page caricature of The Jew and The Gay holding up the world (here), and, the way in which the editor handled criticism of that effort (here).
The English text of Mr. Hamilton’s letter, provided by the Canadian Embassy at the request of DefendingHistory.com, reads as follows:
“As a representative of the Canadian Government, I take exception to the article by Marius Kundrotas appearing in the 25 March, 2011 issue of Respublika (“Kanada iteisina pedofilija?”). To suggest that the controversial testimony of a non-governmental witness before a parliamentary committee investigating sexual offences against children reflects a coming reversal of Canadian Government policy on the protection of children from sexual predators is disingenuous to your readers. Mr. Kundrotas’ claim that “pedophilia has been recognized as a sexual orientation in Canada” is incorrect and unfounded. The sexual exploitation of children is a very serious crime and the Canadian Government is committed to take tough action against it. The Canadian Government has always sought to enhance the protection of vulnerable children and youths against adult sexual predators and to provide more stringent penalties for those who commit sexual offences against children and youths.
“In Canadian society, there is no greater cause than the protection of children from harm. The Government of Canada has in place, and will maintain, some of the most stringent and far-reaching child protection lawsanywhere in the world. In addition to strong measures which criminalize the sexual exploitation of children within our country, Canada is one of the few countries in the world with legislation that allows for the prosecution of citizens and permanent residents who engage in sexual activities with children abroad. And Canadian law enforcement agencies are among the world’s best resourced, and most successful, in terms of their capacity to track down sexual predators and bring them to justice.
“Internationally, Canada was instrumental in the drafting the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. This instrument strengthens the Convention by requiring states to criminalize these activities, making prosecution of offenders easier, and instituting measures for the protection of child victims. Canada ratified the Optional Protocol in September 2005.
“Any form of sexual exploitation of children is a criminal act. This is Canada’s position. It is the position that we will continue to advocate and diligently enforce, both in Canada and around the world.”
- Kevin Hamilton
- Chargé d’affaires
- Office of the Canadian Embassy to Lithuania, Vilnius
Respublika published the Lithuanian version of Mr Hamilton’s letter together with a further rejoinder from Mr Kundrotas (English translation here) which concedes that pedophilia is ‘still’ illegal in Canada… A PDF of the page, from the 1 April edition, is available here.