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UN Committee calls the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania to establish the National Human Rights Institution until the end of this year

Arminas lydekaThe Committee against Torture positively evaluated the activity of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office in undergoing the monitoring of detention places but called the Seimas to make a final decision regarding the establishment of National Human Rights Institution in Lithuania as soon as possible.

On 12-13 May, the Seimas Ombudsman Raimondas Šukys and the Head of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office Arminas Lydeka participated in the hearing of the third periodic report of Lithuania under Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 

When evaluating the activity of the Human Rights Division, the Committee against Torture drew Lithuanian's attention towards its insufficient funding and- low number of employees. However, the Committee against Torture was happy to hear about thirteen monitoring reports, which were produced in a short period, taking into consideration the fact that the Seimas Ombudsmen started implementing national prevention of torture in Lithuania only in the beginning of 2014.

The Seimas Ombudsmen after having started performing national prevention of torture under the Optional Protocol (OPCAT) to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, approved a programme on implementation of new functions.

"When performing monitoring we tried to cover a broader spectrum of detention institutions of Lithuania, including correctional institutions, detention centres, psychiatric institutions and institutions of communicable diseases, care homes, border checkpoints, the Foreigners' Registration Centre and other places of deprivation of liberty," Mr. Lydeka said.

When inquiring about increased number of hate crimes in 2011, the Committee against Torture expressed its huge concern regarding overcrowded places of deprivation of liberty.

In addition, the Committee against Torture has criticised Lithuania concerning possibly illegal actions both institutions of custody and its officials against detainees.

Members of the Committee against Torture were also interested in amendments to the existing Law on Mental Health Care, which aim to distinguish compulsory hospitalisation from compulsory treatment. 

Finally, Lithuania was encouraged to keep its promise given in 2011 and to establish a National Human Rights Institution.

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