Tag Archives: Vilma Fiokla Kiure

The Kremlin’s War on Feminism in Europe


by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

During the 2020 Seimas elections, progressives in our society and human rights activists placed high hopes in the Freedom Party (the Liberals), which included in its program not only the aspiration to legalize same-sex partnerships partnership, but also to ratify the Istanbul Convention. In consequence, not only many LGBTQ+ people voted for the party, but also feminists, as well as activists fighting against various types of violence. The party not only entered the Seimas, but, very surprisingly for some, found itself in power after forming a coalition with the Homeland Union (Conservatives).

Party and Seimas member Morgana Danielė became a prominent leader in the fight against violence against women and children. She initiated important amendments to the criminal code, such as extending the statute of limitations for serious sexual crimes against children, and enacting punishment for sex without consent. However, her initiatives had difficulty finding their way through the system. Moreover, they were even ridiculed by the party’s coalition partners.

The process of ratifying the Istanbul Convention did not progress either, even with the great efforts of the Freedom Party to put pressure on Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, who must constantly pander to supporters of “traditional values” and various marginals.

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Posted in Human Rights, LGBTQ Equal Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Kremlin’s War on Feminism in Europe

Finally, a “Feminine Government” for Lithuania


by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Finally, a “feminine government” for Lithuania. Having won the 2020 election, the right-wing parties formed a “feminine” government, led by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, with liberal Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen taking the chair of the Speaker of the Seimas. One could be tempted to see this as a victory for liberalism and feminism in the Baltics, since the Social Democrats, who were in the majority for several terms, would either include no women in their government or at best, entrust to them one or two ministries of lesser importance.

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Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Finally, a “Feminine Government” for Lithuania

Women’s Issues in Today’s Lithuania


by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Women’s Day March in Vilnius, March 8, 2019. Vilma Fiokla Kiurė in the center, with a banner that reads “No to Fluffy Law Enforcement!!!” Banner on the right reads “We Love Men, but Politics Needs Some Competence”: a reversal of (then) Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis’ comment on why there were no women in the previous Cabinet.

In many respects women in Lithuania are in a far better situation than in our neighboring countries, Poland to the west , and Belarus to the east. In Poland, major efforts are underway to criminalize women for their personal reproductive choices. In Belarus, women stand in the front ranks of the struggle against Lukashenko’s regime. The imagery of Belarusian women and their stalwart protest that reaches us here, in Lithuania, is a powerful one.

We, on the other hand, live in relative peace and quiet. We are, moreover, rightfully  congratulating ourselves on the new Cabinet that has replaced the previous all-male one. Now, the percentage of women in our Government is similar to that in other European states, where gender balance is a norm.

But while we count our blessings, we must continue to fight where there is still major discrimination. Women in Lithuania still earn 14% less, on average, than men in the same positions; women continue to suffer from domestic violence; the pandemic, according to statistics, harmed them the most, too. Women and — children.

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A “Vilnius Model” for Roma Integration?


by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

In April of 2016, the Vilnius City Municipality announced the launching of its Roma Integration Program, or “Vilnius (Kirtimai) Roma Tabor Community Social Integration Program for 2016-2019.” The municipality’s plans were widely discussed in the media, which in its own turn, came up with sensational headlines like “Program of Roma Integration and Tabor Eradication To Be Approved.” A curious fact: Roma representatives did not take part in the negotiation process for this major 700,000 euro project. They were not invited to even observe a single meeting. As ever, Roma are being “integrated” behind their own backs.

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Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day


by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė  (with additional input and photos by Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, and Julius Norwilla)



Once again, on our national holiday of March 11th, at 4 PM in the afternoon, neo-Nazis chanting “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians) marched from the Cathedral up our capital city’s central boulevard, Gedimino, to the Seimas (parliament) at its far end. During each of the nine marches (they started in 2008), none of the country’s leaders spoke out to condemn the march. On the contrary there are many signs of both tolerance and support from very high places, including the permits to march granted by the municipality (no comment from the mayor?) and other relevant authorities.

Yet again, the Union of Nationalist Youth was able to boast that it occupies the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day: “Without any obstacles, we received from the municipality an official permit to march [this day] on the main boulevard of Vilnius.” The official march was concluded several hours earlier and the heads of state apparently rested quietly as the neo-Nazis proceeded to take over the city center, from Cathedral to Parliament, a route rich in symbolic power.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Vilnius, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day

When Both Law Enforcement and Politicians Cover Up Racism


by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

A Nigerian citizen was attacked with a knife and injured in Kaunas, Lithuania, earlier this month. Trying hard to avoid describing the assault as a racially motivated hate crime, law enforcement officials and the mainstream media alike explained that the incident was purely part of a private dispute. Strange to tell, reading through official statistics you would rapidly come to the conclusion that racist and xenopohobic crimes in Lithuania stand at about zero. And, that neo-Nazi minded youth are “just patriotic.” 

It is no great secret in this part of the world that law enforcement officials and some politicians like to beautify the statistics, or to terminate or redefine proceedings brought in respect of racial or xenophobic hatred. One example comes to mind from 2011, when MPs J. Narkevičius and E. Zingeris appealed to the General Prosecutor’s Office to do something about  the neo-Nazi ideology espoused in the song “Diktatūra” by the group “Šalčininkų rajonas” (Šalčininkai District). 

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on When Both Law Enforcement and Politicians Cover Up Racism

What is the “Program for Roma Integration” in Lithuania?

H U M A N   R I G H T S    /    R O M A   I S S U E S    /    O P I N I O N

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Fiokla Kiure by B Janusevicius

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė. Photo: Benediktas Januševičius.

Here in Lithuania, the words “Roma” and “discrimination” are regarded as inseparable. It seems that even the Roma community is reconciled with that. The situation, however, is worsening and what is currently happening in Kirtimai, a village on the outskirts of Vilnius, the capital city’s home to its most prominent tabor, or Roma settlement, and often referred to just as Kirtimai Tabor. What is happening is something larger than just “discrimination against Roma.”

For starters, the water has been disconnected in upper Kirtimai. There had never been a proper water supply but there was a water “column” used by some three hundred people. But it has been blocked off. Looking at the sight of baby carriages used for carrying urns of water is a sight unbelievable for the beautiful capital city of a European Union member state.

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“Prophet Amos Awards” for Seven Human Rights Heroes in Lithuania (2014-2015)


by Defending History Staff

On the occasion of the Jewish new year, 5775 (Sept. 2014 — Sept. 2015), starting this Wednesday evening 24 September at sundown, Defending History has announced seven symbolic (non-material) awards to individuals of extraordinary individual achievement in the field of human rights and tolerance in Lithuania. By “individual achievement” we refer to people who stood up, spoke out, and rose to the moral imperative of saying what needed to be said in the spirit of the prophets who felt an inner voice compelling their rising up, rather than in the context of a job or position at an NGO or other institution. These two genres are harmoniously complementary, and in no way demeaning to each other.

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Posted in Aleksandras Bosas, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Defending History's Person of the Year, Events, Human Rights, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Prophet Amos Awards” for Seven Human Rights Heroes in Lithuania (2014-2015)

Roma: Presumption of Guilt


by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė (photo: Benediktas Januševičius)

The first international congress of Roma was held on April 8, 1971 in Oprington, England. In 1990, the date was designated International Roma Day.

On this day Roma celebrate and hold concerts, but also remember the most tragic eras in the history of the Roma: persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators in World War II and the resulting genocide of the Roma people. On this day the Vilnius Roma community floats wreaths of flowers on the Neris River in remembrance of their compatriots.

Roma who survived the Second World War, ethnic cleansing and genocide remember that the Nazi soldiers and their local police collaborators used simple external recognition to persecute the Roma. At that time the Roma were still wanderers, and it was a rare member of the community who had identification documents. Few had relationships with sedentary residents, making physical resemblance to the typical Roma the main indicator of ethnicity, in many cases guaranteeing death.

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