8 December 2016

The Seimas Ombudsmnens OfficeOn violations of human rights, people tend to turn to the prosecutor's office, the police, or the media but not to non-governmental organisations. Although the general public is less confident in Lithuanian human rights bodies, confidence in the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office has almost doubled in recent years, according to the representative public poll’s survey.

Although confidence in Lithuanian human rights agencies is slight, faith in the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office has risen from 3.4 percent in 2015 to 6.3 percent this year. The survey revealed that the police and prosecutor’s office (19.5 percent) and courts (10.5 percent) were most trusted while the Consumer Protection Agency (1.6 percent) and the State Labour Inspectorate (1.6 percent) suffered the lowest confidence of the respondents.

According to information obtained from the representative public poll, conducted by the Public Opinion and Research Centre ‘Vilmorus’ at the request of the Seimas Ombudsperson's Office, people tend to trust the media more (12.5 percent) than non-governmental organisations (8 percent).

However, the percentage of those seeking help increased significantly (49.2 percent) in 2016 while as many as 84.9 percent of respondents whose rights were violated did not ask for help previous year.

The polls showed that more than half of the population would know where to find support (52,6 percent) if their rights were violated. This number was higher in 2015 (59.7 percent) and 2014 (54 percent). However, the percentage of those who knew where to turn when their rights were violated was at a record low – just 27.9 percent in 2013.

The number of people whose rights were violated in municipal and governmental institutions decreased this year (12.3 percent) compared to 16 percent in 2015, 18 percent in 2014, and 20 percent in 2013.

The survey was conducted in November, 2016, and revealed that the number of people aware that the Seimas Ombudsmen protected human rights remained almost the same in 2016 (42.5 percent) as it was 43.2 percent in 2015. However, it significantly increased in comparison with earlier years, when the numbers were extremely low: 34.5 percent in 2013 and just 24.3 percent in 2012.

However, the percentage of those who were unaware that the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office defended human rights was still high – 57.5 percent in 2016 and 56.0 percent in 2015.

The survey showed that older persons (66.9 percent), the unemployed (60.5 percent), people without a secondary education (67.5 percent), and retirees (61. 5 percent) were among those who did not know where to turn if their rights were violated.

Each year, the Seimas Ombudsmen Office does a survey investigating if Lithuanians have enough information about who may help them when their rights are denied.

The Seimas Ombudsmen defend the human right to good public administration, which ensures human rights and freedoms and oversees public authorities to ensure they comply with their duty to adequately serve the people. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen also carry out national prevention of torture at detention facilities under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.