The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is an organization that has been actively operating in Lithuania since 2010. EFHR was established in response to a striking increase in abuses of human and national minority rights in Lithuania, observed after the country joined the European Union.
EFHR gives free legal advice
One of our principle goals is to offer free legal advice to anyone who has been a victim of discrimination and human rights abuses in the public or private sphere, or those who have witnessed such abuses (e.g. when the party is a government office or employer). Our legal aid can provide: consultations, drafting legal documents and processing of a case in the court/other institutions. Free legal aid is offered by our professional EFHR lawyers and advisers from prestigious legal offices that cooperate with the Foundation.
Human rights consultations are also offered to trade unions and other corporate bodies.
The EFHR scope of activity does not include cases of land restitution and litigations between natural persons.
EFHR is concerned with education and informing society about human rights
The Foundation organizes free human rights workshops and lectures by professors, scholars and experienced lawyers. They are intended for school pupils, lawyers and other interested persons. The participants receive certificates.
Our NGO actively co-operates with high schools to organize lectures on problems such as discrimination, human rights and functioning of NGOs.
EFHR prepares and distributes leaflets and other publications about discrimination, human and minority rights (also addressed to those with no legal background). The information we provide is up-to-date, based on examples of human rights abuses and with detailed instructions explaining possible ways to react when you find yourself a victim or witness of discrimination.
EFHR organizes educational visits to regions far from the capital of Lithuania
Despite dynamic technological development, not everyone has equal access to the internet. Therefore, some people do not have the possibility to receive appropriate legal aid and information. EFHR seeks to guarantee legal aid and communication materials in regions situated far from the capital. During these study visits, the Foundation provides information about its scope of activity, and particularly tries to reach out to people to inform them of active ways to defend their rights.
EFHR monitors the media and cyberspace
According to the criminal code, each comment or statement publicized on an internet forum that openly incites hatred and discrimination against a particular group of people is forbidden and subject to penalty. Thus, EFHR takes the time to scan the internet in search of manifestations of hate speech. When we find such abuse (comments inciting hatred or discrimination), EFHR applies to the appropriate law enforcement agencies to initiate investigations. In our opinion, newly won cases and awarded penalties prove that the state cannot remain passive while hate speech is such an issue on the internet. Abusive media articles and those quoting false information or incorrectly interpreting surveys and statistics are also illegal. EFHR acts according to the character of the violation by writing applications and petitions to appropriate institutions, e.g. insisting on the reconsideration of possible violation of journalistic ethics or rectification of biased information.
Due to the fact that some employers discriminate against people based on their gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, race, ethnic and national origin, religion, language, social status or personal beliefs, the EFHR team pays attention to job offers discriminating against particular groups of people. In cases where the job profile does not require any special abilities from candidates, this kind of selection criteria is illegal. EFHR monitors and reacts against those abuses by writing petitions to the Lithuanian Equal Opportunities Ombudsman’s office.
EFHR – co-operation
- we work with many talented volunteers and trainees. As a non-profit organization, EFHR appreciates each person who helps us in the struggle against discrimination. We offer the possibility to gain experience in the human rights sphere to lawyers, journalists, philologists and other interested persons. One of the crucial aims is to educate young volunteers by sending them for workshops and conferences abroad, which enables them to learn mutually with activists from other international organizations.
- we work with international organizations seeking partners from other countries. EFHR currently closely cooperates with: UNITED, Sillamäe Society for Child Welfare from Estonia, Connect Art, Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, European Centre for Minority Issues, etc. Besides that, EFHR prepared free Polish and Lithuanian editions of the Council of Europe’s educational publication “Rights and Freedom in practice”, which comprehensively illustrates the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.
- we work with chambers and law experts. Our aim is to exchange experiences to offer more professional legal aid.
EFHR and media
Because of our work, the Lithuanian and foreign media are often interested in our activities. Media outlets including radio, press and TV use materials published on EFHR’s website (interviews and notes). Our presence in the media helps us to disseminate information regarding human rights issues and EFHR’s activities.
Moreover, the Foundation voluntarily translates materials into English and publishes the most up-to-date articles concerning national minority issues in Lithuania on our website: www.media.efhr.eu
We are waiting for you to contact us, especially if you:
- need legal aid;
- are looking for information or have questions about human rights;
- would like to invite EFHR to your region, organization, institution, village or school;
- find an example of a comment inciting discrimination (such as an abusive job offer);
- would like to cooperate with EFHR.