WYA on a European Parliament Resolution Opposing Lithuanian Law
Brussels – Belgium, October 5th 2009
Young People Ask EU to Respect Member State Competencies after the European Parliament Voted on a Resolution Opposing Lithuanian Law
The World Youth Alliance participated in the last European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg – France, and focused on a resolution against Lithuania’s new law on the dissemination of public information to minors. Lithuania’s current law prohibits the dissemination of information to minors that may be detrimental to their development, a law that is necessary to protect the rights of the child.
The law attempts to fulfill Lithuania’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a binding treaty to which Lithuania is a signatory. Indeed, Article 17 of the Convention states that State Parties are encouraged to develop “appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being.” WYA representatives actively participated in discussions with Members of Parliament, emphasizing that the Lithuanian law did not violate international human rights or EU law, and reiterating the principle of subsidiarity, which protects the rights of nation states to legislate on family and cultural matters directly. The WYA played a key role in providing information to MEPs, even though the resolution was ultimately passed with 349 votes in favor and 218 opposed .
The European Parliament’s attempt to ignore the Convention on the Rights of the Child touched on issues of subsidiarity and the division of competencies between the EU and Member States. In June, World Youth Alliance welcomed the European Council’s “legal guarantees” that addressed the concerns of the Irish people regarding Article 40 of the Irish Constitution, which contained positions on family matters and protection of life from conception. The young people of Europe deserve assurances that such legal guarantees respecting the competencies of Member States in the areas of life and family issues will be respected by the EU if a situation similar to Lithuania’s should arise in the future.
World Youth Alliance is a global coalition of young people committed to promoting the dignity of the person and building solidarity among youth from developed and developing nations. WYA train young people to work at regional and international levels to impact policy and culture. WYA represent 1million members through its 5 regional offices in Africa (Nairobi), Asia-Pacific (Manila), Europe (Brussels), Latin-America (Mexico) and North-America (New York). In Europe, WYA gather more than 3.000 individual members and 40 youth-organizations.