15 July 2015
The newly appointed Ombudsperson of Equal Opportunities, Agneta Lobačevskytė, seeks to improve the activity of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson's Office by gaining more experience from the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, which was called exemplary in tackling human rights problems.
On 15 July 2015, the Ombudsperson of Equal Opportunities met with the Seimas Ombudsmen Augustinas Normantas and Raimondas Šukys at the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office and discussed cooperation opportunities in improving the activity of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson's Office.
"Your institution is unique. The complaints are investigated thoroughly with clear and strong arguments, as well as sound reasoning, in written conclusions. We need to gain more experience from the Seimas Ombudsmen by devoting scrupulous attention to the quality of investigation of complaints and monitoring of the implementation of recommendations," she said.
7 July 2015
On 7 July 2015 Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks met with the Seimas Ombudsmen Augustinas Normantas and Raimondas Šukys to discuss possible cooperation on human rights issues. Moreover, the Commissioner was interested in a progress of implementation of national prevention of torture in Lithuania.
"Since the beginning of the implementation of the national prevention of torture in 2014, the Seimas Ombudsmen have visited all foreigners’ detention places in Lithuania. A particular attention was paid to aliens in the Foreign Registration Centre, Foreign Reception Centre and border crossing points," noted the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen Augustinas Normantas at the meeting.
The Seimas Ombudsman drew the attention of the Commissioner to a high number of places of detention in Lithuania: "There are more than 400 institutions that may be considered to be places of detention".
The representatives of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office in collaboration with the head of the Seimas Committee on Human Rights Zita Žvikiene commemorated World Refugee Day in The Refugee Reception Centre on 19 June 2015. The United Nations' (UN) World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year.
“Implementing national prevention of torture, the Seimas Ombudsmen protect human rights of all people who are in places of detention; however, this objective would be achieved with difficulty if institutions did not cooperate," said Juras Taminskas, the Adviser of Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office to the audience at the event.
"World Refugee Day is a great opportunity to honour the courage, strength and determination of refugees seeking a better life without persecution, exploitation and massacre. It is time for us – the democratic state – to reaffirm our commitment to people fleeing war and continuing to believe that EU member state will protect them from violence,” said Zita Žvikienė, the head of Seimas Committee on Human rights.
Welcoming the audience, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lithuania Renata Kuleš drew attention to lasting conflicts; to an increasing number of people forced to flee homes and a rising wave of xenophobia and intolerance in the world.
European migration network data revealed that third-country nationals lodged 496 applications for asylum in Lithuania; it is 24.3 per cent more than in 2013. The data suggests that 53.4 per cent of applications were submitted in border crossing points. Most of asylum seekers were from Georgia (117 applications), Afghanistan (99 applications) and Russia (74 applications). The number of asylum seekers from Ukraine has increased (there were 70 applications submitted in 2014 while only 5 received in 2013).