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).
17 June 2015
On 17 June 2015 the Seimas Ombudsman Augustinas Normantas introduced the activity of the national prevention of torture (the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office was assigned to at the beginning of 2014) to the members of the Seimas Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Introducing the activity of national prevention of torture, the Seimas Ombudsman drew attention of the committee members 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 andalmost 30 thousand people are kept there," he said at the meeting.
The Optional Protocol stipulates that all places of detention should be monitored. Moreover, in the opinion of NGO experts, who contributed to the preparation of the Protocol, places of detention should be monitored once every three years.
5 June 2015
On 4 June the Seimas Ombudsman Raimondas Šukys attended discussion “Implementing the Preventive Mandate: Ombuds institutions designated as a National Preventive Mechanisms in the OSCE region” in Warsaw. The discussion was organized by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) in cooperation with OSCE.
Mr. Raimondas Šukys introduced results of the activity of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office in implementing the national prevention of torture and highlighted challenges the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office has faced since the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office was granted a new mandate in 2014.
“When implementing the national prevention of torture the financial and human resources are a considerable challenge. And what is even more important, the implementation of NPM is aggravated by a big number of detention places in Lithuania” noted the Seimas Ombudsman.