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ŽALGIRIO ARENA VIOLATED THE LAW ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN JULY 2017

THE OWNER OF ARENA - KAUNAS CITY MUNICIPALITY AND THE OPERATOR - PRIVATE LIABILITY COMPANY "KAUNAS ARENA" DISCRIMINATE DISABLED PEOPLE TILL NOW.

How it`s happened?

10 th November 2017

The fact has turned out that Žalgirio Arena removed 3/4 seats for disabled people - web portal of lrytas.lt wrote about this violation

 Managers of Žalgirio Arena contacted an author of the project Eugenijus Miliūnas and ordered a reconstruction studio of 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111 sectors for people with disabilities in July 2017. On the basis of this studio, seats for people with disabilities were reduced from about 100 to 14. 108, 109, 110 and 111 sectors, which first of all were provided for people with disabilities in this project, has been handed over to a sponsor of Basketball Club Zalgiris that is a private limited liability company RAMIRENT PREMIUM CLUB.
Seats of 104 and 105 sectors has been blocked by platforms and tickets has been sold for non-disabled people. Representatives of the Association of Environmental Accessibility of People with Disabilities in Kaunas county hasn't accepted for this reconstruction, although arena's representatives had claimed (LIED) about this arrangement until September of 2018.

4 th December 2017

The Disability Department under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour has received a complaint and has organized a discussion for this problem in Kaunas

Representatives of Kaunas City Municipality, State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate Kaunas Department, Department of Disabled Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Žalgirio Arena, the Association of Environmental Accessibility of People with Disabilities and Lithuanian Paraplegic Association have attended the meeting.
Representatives of Žalgirio Arena explained why they reduced seats for people who move with a wheelchair, they pointed out that this was coordinated with Kaunas City Municipality and the Association of Environmental Accessibility of People with Disabilities.

It turns out later that it is a lie - representatives of the Association of Environmental Accessibility of People with Disabilities has disapproved for the reconstruction. Kaunas City Municipality, the owner of Arena, has refused to address the problem further at this meeting.

17 th January 2018

Discussion has been organized in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania

Based on problem of Žalgirio Arena, the discussion on “Situation of buildings' adaptation for the disabled and suggestions for its improvement” was organised in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. The problem of the legal regulation of the building control after construction's authorisation was discussed. It has been noted that there is no regulation at the moment about the monitoring and supervision of exploitable buildings after the authorisation.

21 th January 2018

Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality

The problem of Žalgirio Arena has been presented to Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality.

4 th June 2018

Office of the equal opportunities ombudsperson

The Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson has been informed about the problem of Žalgirio Arena. Additional information - an evidence about discrimination for disabled visitors has been provided to the office. Based on the newly submitted information, the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson has been updated the investigation into the violation of the Law on Equal Opportunities in Žalgirio Arena.

14 th June 2018

Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality

The problem of Žalgirio Arena has been discussed once again in the Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality.

28 th August 2018

Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson has announced a decision

The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson has issued a decision recognising that Žalgirio Arena offended an Article 8 of the Law on Equal Opportunities.

11 th September 2018

Meeting in Žalgirio Arena

When Žalgirio Arena was recognized in violation the Law on Equal Opportunities by the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, representatives of Arena invited to a meeting the chief lawyer of the Office of the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson and a representative authorised by Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality to discuss about the removal of discrimination actions.

During the meeting, representatives of Arena acknowledged that they didn't combine this reconstruction project with disabled people - the Association of Environmental Accessibility of People with Disabilities and proposed ways to eliminate discriminatory actions.

16 th October 2018

Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality has appointed a representative for negotiations with Žalgirio Arena

Under the decision of Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality, an authorised member of this council has been appointed for negotiations with Žalgirio Arena.

12 th December 2018

Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality has suggested a compromise solution to Žalgirio Arena

When Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality Kaunas discussed proposals of Žalgirio Arena and the assessment of delegated member of this council, presented a compromise suggestion. It took into account the wish of Arena to leave seats, that before were provided for disabled people, for Arena - for the sponsor of Basketball Club Žalgiris that is a private limited liability company RAMIRENT PREMIUM CLUB in exchange compensating equivalent seats in other sectors of Arena.

28 th January 2019

Secret negotiations between representatives of Žalgirio Arena and Administration of Kaunas City Municipality

Representatives of Žalgirio Arena started secret negotiations with Administration of Kaunas City Municipality bypassing and ignoring the Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality and its authorized representative. Representatives of City Administration, two representatives of the Council of Disabled Affairs who were delegated to the council by City Adminitration - the council's secretary and the chairman of this council were invited to a secret meeting on the 28th January 2019.
After this meeting, the council's secretary without justification has invited councillors to the council meeting on 12th February 2019 in Zalgirio Arena, where representatives of Arena has intended to present once again their suggestions to all members of the council as well as they has intended to remove the violation of law.
  
Representatives of Arena and members of the council has agreed on solution of the problem at this meeting. Arena has agreed with the compromise solution of Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality done on 12th December 2018 and it has promised that removed seats for people with disabilities will be compensated with equivalent seats in other sectors around the site in the 112 and 113 sectors and previously designated seats in 104 and 105 sectors will be returned.

13 th February 2019

Kaunas City Municipality and Arena try to legitimize a counterfeit, discriminatory agreement for disabled people

Options were proposed to consider at the meeting in Žalgiris Arena on 12 th February:

1) to sell seats for non-disabled people if seats were not sold for disabled people during 2 weeks before the event;

2) to start selling seats provided for people with disabilities only in one sector and until these seats won't be bought out it can't be sold in other sectors.
Disabled people would be limited in time (they will be required to purchase seats provided for them 2 weeks before the event) and in sectors (they won't be able to acquire seats that are installed for them and where they want to sit as well as when less quantity of seats will be left there will be no possibility to buy online tickets).

This proposal was discussed by the arena's lawyer and a representative authorised by the Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality, however it didn't reach the consensus. According to a representative of the Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality, restrictions imposed only on visitors with disabilities violate the Law on Equal Opportunities because the order of tickets sales is creating in discriminatory way which would be mandatory only for disabled, non-disabled visitors wouldn't have any restrictions neither in time or sectors.

The secretary and the chairman of the Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality tried to legitimize a discriminatory agreement for disabled visitors of Arena on 13th February 2019. They presented a forged meeting minutes stating that members of the council who took part in the meeting on 12th February unanimously voted for restrictions on disabled visitors to purchase tickets to events in Žalgirio Arena:

1) to start selling seats provided for people with disabilities only in one sector and until these seats won't be bought out it can't be sold in other sectors;

2) to sell seats for non-disabled people if seats were not sold for disabled people during 2 weeks before the event.

HOW MANY PLACES IN ARENA MUST BE INSTALLED FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES?

Arena's director Paulius Motiejūnas and a media representative Almantas Kiveris DON'T KNOW and points out it differently.

Paulius Motiejūnas

 60 places

Paulius Motiejūnas, a director of Žalgirio Arena, points out that there are about 60 seats.

Almantas Kiveris

 321 place

A media representative Almantas Kiveris believes that disabled visitors are given 321 seats after reconstruction and not about 60 seats how it is stated according to Arena's director Paulius Motiejūnas.


AT LEAST 300 SEATS MUST BE INSTALLED FOR WHEELCHAIR USERS UNDER THE CONSTRUCTION TECHNICAL REGULATION

RESULT

1

TIME WAS WASTED

The investigation had been lasted for 15 months.

2

PROBLEM SOLVED

Departament for the Affairs of the Disabled under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour , Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate under the Ministry of Environment, Seimas Committee on Social Affairs and Labour, Disabled Affairs Council of Kaunas City Municipality, Administration of Kaunas City Municipality, Private limited liability company "Kauno arena".

3

IT IS DETERMINED

It turned out that 8 items of the Code of Professional Ethics of providers of architectural services within the European Union was missed and Construction Technical Regulations of the Republic of Lithuania was violated during the designing and constructing of Žalgirio Arena - instead of mandatory 300 seats provided for people with disabilities were installed only about 60 that was reduced to 14 in 2017.


No decision has been taken satisfying all parties - the actions of discrimination based on Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson haven't been removed and new actions that discriminate disabled visitors has been created by masking previous actions.
There is no institution in Lithuania that can defend the rights of disabled visitors of Žalgirio Arena in Lithuanian Republic laws - to turn to court over violations done by administration of Kaunas City Municipality and the operator of Žalgirio Arena that is a private liability company “Kaunas arena”.

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