8 November 2016
On 8 November 2016, the Seimas (Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania) appointed Mr. Augustinas Normantas to the post of the Seimas Ombudsman for the third term. Mr. Normantas also acts as the Head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office.
His candidacy was chosen by the Speaker of the Seimas, after thorough deliberations with different groups of the political parties at the Seimas, civil society and NGO’s that also considered the nomination.
“In the light of the resolution adopted by the Seimas in 2014, the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office is actively involved in the shaping of the overall human rights concept, policies, and practices in the country. Therefore, cooperation with the Seimas Committees on Human Rights, Legal, and Foreign Affairs has also increased,” noted the Seimas Ombudsman.
With the emphasis on a greater awareness of human rights and the enhanced visibility of the institution, the Seimas Ombudsman's Office is pursuing its goal of becoming a national human rights institution. The Seimas Ombudsman's Office is an active member of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and the International Ombudsmen Institute (IOI).
2 November 2016
During the second review of the Lithuania’s report on human rights in the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session in Geneva, the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office Mr Augustinas Normantas advised the authorities of Lithuania to respect human rights.
Mr Normantas introduced the status of the application for the accreditation of a national human rights institution under Paris Principles. Moreover, talked about the fulfilment of the duties of a National Preventive institution.
In his speech, the Seimas Ombudsman underlined the importance of the implementation of the CPT recommendations concerning human rights violations in places of detention. Furthermore, Mr Normantas stressed the importance to respect the rights of people with disabilities in particular of those with mental health problems. The importance to eliminate the violations of human rights in social care institutions was at the centre of his statement as well.
The head of Lithuanian delegation Mr Paulius Griciūnas, a vice-minister of the Ministry of Justice, stressed that the second cycle of UPR is connected to a significant event – the 25th anniversary of Lithuania's admission to UN. The head of the delegation put emphasis on the country's involvement in several international and regional human rights monitoring mechanisms. "Being a party to international treaties led us to the betterment of national legislation concerning human rights", noted he.
There should be more social-educational activities, and residents should get more attention from the personnel of social care institutions. Prof Irena Leliūgienė holds the view that the engagement of the elderly into different activities should involve improvement of existing skills as well as the development of social-cultural activities.
The Seimas Ombudsman Augustinas Normantas welcomed participants of the conference by noting that residents living in social care homes should not lose their dignity. Therefore it is necessary to promote integration so that they would feel fully-fledged members of the society.
Echoing educologist Prof Leliūgienė, the Seimas Ombudsman drew the attention of participants of the conference to the lack of socio-educational activities in social care homes.
"It seems that they are fed well, and they have a roof over their heads; however, like every human being the elderly living in care institutions need a wider range of activities and those activities have to be personalised to address the needs of each resident," noted Mr Normantas.