2019.05.02 07:33

New survey measures prejudice against Roma, Muslims and LGBT people in Lithuania

Ignas Jačauskas, BNS 2019.05.02 07:33

Two-thirds of the Lithuanian population would prefer not to have Roma people as their neighbours and almost a half would not want to live next door to people with mental disabilities and former inmates, a survey shows.

Around one-third of those polled by Baltijos Tyrimai viewed homosexuals, Muslims or Chechens as undesirable neighbours.

The survey was commissioned by the Institute for Ethnic Studies of the Lithuanian Social Research Centre in partnership with two non-governmental organizations, Diversity Charter Lithuania and Diversity Development Group.

Roma people remain the least liked ethic group: 63 percent of respondents would prefer not to live next door to them, 39 percent would not want to have them as co-workers and 65 percent would not rent an apartment to them.

The level of negative attitude toward Roma people as neighbours has changed the least compared to other least favored ethnic, religious or social groups. Back in 2005, 77 percent of those polled said they would prefer not to live next door to a Roma person.

The latest survey also revealed negative attitudes toward refugees (27 percent), Buddhists and Hindus (21 percent), Syrians and Iraqis (almost 18 percent each) and black people (15 percent).

Vita Kontvainė of the Institute for Ethnic Studies says the negative sentiment toward Roma people is due, among other factors, to how they are portrayed by the media and by politicians.

Kontvainė says that negative feelings toward Muslims are largely due to international developments and media focus on negative images and terrorism, noting the anti-Muslim sentiment surged in the wake of the 2015 terror attacks.

“When it comes to Muslims living in Lithuania, for example, Tartars, these attitudes are quite positive, she” said.

The level of intolerance toward homosexuals has fallen by one-fifth since 2005, which shows that “this group becomes a normal participant in public discourse”, Kontvainė says.