VILNIUS - Still reeling from a no-fly zone and the flying ban on most commercial airlines through Europe, a bitter consequence of the coronavirus, Lithuania has been dealt another blow: an international boycott against tourism in Lithuania. The protest will mean that thousands of jobs in the tourist sector in Lithuania will be lost.

The boycott is a result of the Lithuanian government’s ill-fated decision to construct a conference centre on a Jewish cemetery, in violation of the Geneva Convention and the EU Charter of Human Rights. The respective charters prohibit the desecration of a cemetery.

Dr. Mathew Anthony Harper, a White House press spokesman for Christian news networks declared that the Lithuanian government’s decision to build the conference centre is atrocious. Dr. Harper together with prominent members of the international Jewish community have indicated that they will boycott Lithuanian tourism, if steps to initiate the construction go ahead. A petition signed by leaders from a broad spectrum of religious denominations, unequivocally declared the government’s proposal as a desecration of a Jewish cemetery. The cemetery is home to tens of thousands holy Jewish scholars who are buried on the site. The historical site has origins which go back over 500 years.

The initial plan to build the conference centre in Vilnius on the Jewish cemetery is being viewed as consequence of systemic antisemitism within the Lithuanian government.

An independent poll conducted by the CBD News Corporation concluded that 63% of Europeans would support the boycott and not visit Lithuania, if the government went ahead with its plans.

Barry Jenkins
Human Right’s Watch (Europe)


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