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As the world moves towards new standards in opposing hate crimes, one country in Europe is moving against the grain and taking bold steps to embrace racist-styled government policy and promote transgressions against minorities. Get more info about Antisemitism
Largely criticized for its support of the Holocaust and Germany’s Final Solution against Jews, Lithuania for a brief moment sought moral redemption by condemning the Holocaust. That period was however short-lived. Only recently, the Lithuanian Government approved plans for the construction of a conference centre on the grounds of the oldest Jewish owned cemetery in Vilnius, Shnipishok. The move is being seen as a direct attack against the Jewish community and a willingness to embrace a policy which ignores basic standards in human right.
Special Report by i24 on the proposed plan to build a conference centre in a Jewish cemetery.
The history archives show that the Shnipishok cemetery was originally founded in 1487 and is the resting place of leading rabbinical scholars and tens of thousands of Jews, spanning centuries in time.
Separately, Dr. Melanie Klinkner has led efforts in the U.K. to protect mass graves and develop protection guidelines. Her efforts included countries like Iraq and Syria. Klinker is the lead researcher in the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research Leadership Fellow and Principal Academic in International Law at Bournemouth University-funded project. Dr Klinkner’s work is telling in the sense that grave preservation has become the standard in the Human Right’s handbook, irrespective of religion or culture, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.
The notion that the construction of a conference centre or building over a cemetery violates basic guidelines and international accepted standards to protect cemeteries, does not appear to have fazed the Lithuanian government and its plans. The construction of a conference centre on a cemetery is being opposed by several international government agencies, inter-faith based organizations and world leaders.
A class action suit against the Lithuanian government is underway, in an attempt to halt moves to begin the construction. A representative from the President’s office was not available for comment.
Peter Jenkins, a Human Right’s activist who has conducted work for Amnesty and who was interviewed for this article stated that the Lithuanian government’s decision to build the conference centre on a cemetery in Vilnius, and to desecrate the grounds on which tens of thousands of Jews lay buried, constitutes a serious violation of the EU Charter of Human Rights.
David Crawford is a writer for CNB News and its Associated Agencies.