Our mission is to ensure implementation of equal opportunities and prevention of discrimination in society.
Our vision is a society that is aware of equal opportunities and strives to ensure them.
Impartiality, professionalism, courage, efficiency, openness.
The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania provides the principle of equality for all people and the inherent right to be treated equally with others.
Lithuanian Parliament adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men on 1 December 1998. This law came into effect on 1 March 1999. The first Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson (hereinafter – Ombudsperson) was appointed on 20 April 1999. On the grounds of Constitution's article 73 the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson (hereinafter – Office) was established on 25 May 1999 by the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania and its regulations were approved.
On 1 January 2005 a new Law on Equal Treatment came into force. Ombudsperson’s mandate was extended and guaranteed the right to file complaints to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson in cases of discrimination on grounds of age, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnic origin, religion or beliefs. When the Law on Equal Treatment came into force, the Office name changed to the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson and the Ombudsperson’s job title was changed to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. At present the Law on Equal Treatment establishes 13 prohibited grounds of discrimination: gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion.
The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson is a budgetary institution financed from the state budget. Ombudsperson, by proposal from the Speaker of the Seimas, is assigned for a term of five years by secret voting in Parliament. Ombudsperson is accountable to Parliament and is responsible for the enforcement of the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and the Law on Equal Treatment. A citizen of the Republic of Lithuania, who is a person of good repute, has a university master degree in law and whose record of service in legal profession or at state and municipal institutions or agencies is not less than ten years shall be eligible for appointment as the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. The same person cannot be appointed as Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson for more than two successive 5-year terms of office. Moreover, prior to swearing an oath to the State of Lithuania the person must halt his/hers participation in a political party till the end of his/hers term of office.
Competence of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson:
- investigates complaints, carries out investigations on his/hers own initiative;
- performs independent researches, related to discrimination, and independent surveys on the discrimination state, provides conclusions and recommendations on any issue related to discrimination;
- carries out preventive and educational activity, secures equal opportunities mainstreaming;
- controls the implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provisions, related to securing equal opportunities;
- exchanges information with various institutions and agencies from Lithuania and foreign countries, international organisations.
Currently Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson is Birutė Sabatauskaitė.
Agneta Skardžiuvienė (2015-2021);
Edita Žiobienė* (2013-2015);
Aušrinė Burneikienė (1999-2013).
*Based on a 15 November 2013 decision of the Board of the Seimas No. SV-S-451 “On Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson”, Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson’s duties were entrusted to the Children’s Rights Ombudsperson Edita Žiobienė, till new Ombudsperson will be appointed.