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2019.07.03 17:25

Racist housing ads spark outrage among Lithuania’s expat community

LRT.lt2019.07.03 17:25

Screenshots of housing ads calling for no “Indians or nigers [sic]” have been circulating on social media among Lithuania’s expat community.

The ads appeared on popular listing websites, skelbiu.lt and aruodas.lt, but have since been removed.

Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights has used social media to call on the State Equal Opportunity Ombudsperson to investigate the case, as there have been similar previous examples “against Muslims, refugees, Roma community, and others”.

However, Lithuania’s Office of the Equal Opportunity Ombudsperson claimed on social media that despite receiving the same reports, “the ads are currently removed or are inaccessible, and therefore, we have no legal means to start an investigation or pass the information to the Prosecutor’s Office”.

Birutė Sabatauskaitė, director of the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights, says that the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson may start an investigation by itself if there’s enough public information.

And despite the ads being removed, there could still be grounds for an investigation, if the same ads by the same people appear without the slander.

“It would mean that despite not showing the same language, the same [discriminatory] condition has remained.”

Monika Jončaitė, head of marketing at Diginet – which oversees skelbiu.lt and aruodas.lt – told LRT English in a written comment that “the portal strictly doesn’t tolerate ads with such content, and removes them as quickly as possible”.

“Such instances come up extremely rarely, and we never had to deal with racist-type ads before.”

She also said they most commonly hand over information to law enforcement regarding scamming instances, and “we always cooperate, and when needed” supply all information on who posted the ad.