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During his visits to psychiatric institutions, the Seimas Ombudsman was pleasantly surprised by their progress toward eliminating human rights violations

28 December 2016

psichiatrijos lovaA re-visit of Šiauliai Psychiatric Clinic and Rokiškis Psychiatric Hospital revealed that the mental institutions had implemented most recommendations the Seimas Ombudsman had made concerning the elimination of human rights violations.

“From thirteen recommendations provided to Šiauliai Hospital Psychiatry Clinic eleven are already implemented, two recommendations implemented partially,” noted the Seimas Ombudsman.

During a visit to Šiauliai Psychiatric Clinic three years ago, the advisers of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office identified several human rights violations which the hospital initially was reluctant to eliminate.

“The changes in Šiauliai Psychiatric Clinic’s administration and the meeting with the representatives of the Ministry of Health and Lithuanian psychiatrists, including prof. Arūnas Germanavičius, Vilnius University Faculty of Health and the Chief Psychiatrist of Lithuania prof. Virginija Adomaitienė, the head of LSMU Psychiatric Clinic, produced the positive results,” noted Mr. Normantas.

Nonetheless, the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office pointed out that Šiauliai Psychiatric Clinic should work on achieving satisfactory hygiene standards by providing more space to patients in the Department of Subacute Care and avoiding having more than four patients in any one ward.

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The Seimas Ombudsman: A woman suffocated by smoke in Prienai Care Home – a result of inadequate fire safety measures

19 December 2016

 MG 8001In response to reports in the media about the woman's death and complaints received regarding human rights’ violations, the Seimas Ombudsman, Augustinas Normantas, visited the Prienai Care Home. The safety of the residents was assessed, to see if there were any human rights abuses and if the personnel was prepared for extreme situations.

The Seimas Ombudsman wondered why the resident had suffocated from smoke if the personnel had taken all measures to avoid a disaster. The Seimas Ombudsman expressed doubts as to whether the staff had responded to the disaster in time, and whether the fire alarm system had been activated timely and appropriately.

In 2013, while visiting the Prienai Care Home, the Seimas Ombudsman had identified some human rights violations. These were dealt with, at the time, by the administration.

“Three years ago, I made recommendations to ensure all fire safety requirements. When providing information on the implementation of the recommendations, the care home administration assured us that the foster home was equipped with a fire safety alarm system.” The Seimas Ombudsman recalled the answer from the administration that, in case the alarm is tripped, “the employees would react rapidly.” “The crucial question, therefore, is whether the employees did not respond to the fire alarm in time, or whether it did not work. Or was it possible to avoid the death of a resident? Of course, a pre-trial investigation will provide the answers.”

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On the International Day conference, focus on people with disabilities and those in institutional care

9 December 2016 

IMG 0108“Concerted efforts to achieve the goal — to ratify the Convention — a crucial step towards respect of persons with disabilities. I say respect because I am convinced that by respecting the other person you will never diminish him and if his or her rights are infringed, you will always make any effort to defend them,” said Augustinas Normantas, the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, who started a conference to observe  International Human Rights Day.

At the conference co-organised by the Seimas Committee for Human Rights and the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office, particular attention was paid to the issues associated with physical or mental disabilities and older people residing in social care institutions' rights. Participants of the conference were welcomed by spokesmen of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis.

Sixty-eight years ago, on December 10, 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. Through the values enshrined in this Declaration, the entire international human rights protection system was created and developed, as well as the adoption of international agreements, including a legally binding key international document — the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms.  Welcoming participants of the Conference was the Chairman of the Seimas Committee for Human Rights, Mr. Valerijus Simulikas.

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