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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.

At the Conference, Mrs. Henrika Varnienė, the managing director of the Lithuanian Disability Forum, drew attention to the fact that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was the most equipped to help people with disabilities and reflected the real need of these individuals. However, many of the speakers at the Conference emphasised the lack of political will in Lithuania to fully implement the provisions of the Convention and to consolidate an approach to persons with disabilities as a full-fledged natural subject of human rights rather than subjects of support and beneficiaries.

Given the fact that all members of humanity are equal and enjoy inalienable rights of freedom, justice, and peace and that these rights are derived from the inherent dignity of the human, the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman Treatment was signed in 1984. Lithuania entered the Convention in 1991. The preamble of the Convention states that "no exceptional circumstances can be used to justify torture."

The Parliament of Lithuania ratified the Convention on 3 December 2013, which entered into force in 2006. The Optional Protocol established a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the Convention. The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office has received a mandate to carry out national prevention and was entitled as a National Preventive Mechanism.IMG 0110

"The particular feature of the Optional Protocol was a system established for monitoring the implementation of the Convention – at a national and international level," said Ms Kristina Brazevič, the adviser of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office.

Welcoming the participants of the conference, the Spokesman of the Seimas, Mr Pranckietis, noted that the ratification of international instruments created the preconditions for achieving higher standards in ensuring rights for people with disabilities and individuals who are in places of deprivation of liberty by emphasising the proper implementation of the treaties – in the hands of the society.

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