10 Deceber 2015

Zmogaus teisiu diena 2015 2International Human Rights Day is a momentous day for the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office because in addition to establishing respect for human rights within the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the founders of the Constitution envisaged mechanisms for human rights protection, and among these is the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office.

"Today we are commemorating International Human Rights Day. Still, this day is important to us as the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office was founded twenty years ago," said the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, Mr Augustinas Normantas, congratulating the participants gathered for the conference.

Several acknowledged scholars, including Prof. Ph Vytautas Mizaras, Vilnius University; former judge of the Constitutional Court, Prof. Ph Tomas Birmontienė; Prof. Ph Leonidas Donskis, Vytautas Magnus University; present judges of the Constitutional Court, Algirdas Taminskas, and Danutė Jočienė delivered speeches on human rights during the conference.

Meanwhile, the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office reviewed the development of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office and reminded the audience of the importance of the role of ombudsmen in democratic societies.

"The conception of an ombudsman has continuously been evolving in democratic societies. The network of ombudsman institutions expanded, as well as the competence of an ombudsman broadened. The protection of human rights became the essence of the ombudsmen work.

By choosing the Swedish model, which emphasises the significance of legal protection that is the principle of supremacy of law and determination to make officials comply with legislation, the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office kept up with Western democratic countries, seeking to make the public administration closer its citizens," noted Mr Normantas in his speech.

Leonidas Donskis, the professor of Vytautas Magnus University, drew the attention of the audience towards human rights and conflicting conceptions of them. He argued whether the human rights concept was universal and general or if each cultural tradition could have a different and individual understanding of human rights.

Finally, the first head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office Algirdas Taminskas wound the conference up by reminiscing about the challenges and expectations the founders had before establishing the institution.