The Seimas Ombudsman has met with the Australian Human Rights Commissioner

11 May 2017

Australija1The Seimas Ombudsman Raimondas Šukys has met with the Australian Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow and discussed the different human rights challenges our countries are facing and exchanged experience in dealing them. The Commissioner introduced the Australian Human Rights Commission and took a keen interest in the activity of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office.

As a collegial body, the Australian Human Rights Commission consists of eight commissioners. The Commission is headed by the oldest member who is Professor Gillian Triggs. The Commission is accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Attorney General.

As a Commissioner Mr. Santow was appointed to for a five-year period in 2016, before that he headed a non-governmental organisation, taught at university.

The Commissioner visited Lithuania at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania. The intention of the visit was to introduce the Australian Human Rights Commission and ask for the Lithuanian's support for Australia when the country will be in the running for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

In Lithuania, Mr. Santow also met with the head of the Seimas Committee on Human Rights, Mr. Valerijus Simulik, director of United Nations, International Organizations and Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Oskaras Jucys, and representatives of the coalition of human rights organisations.

International human rights organisations are fiercely criticising Australia for human rights violations on the island of Nauru, where the Australian government-funded offshore detention camps are set up. The offshore location of the detention camps allows Australia to skirt its obligations as a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Human rights activists note that the detention camps on the island of Nauru do not meet human rights standards, and asylum seekers are ill-treated, the Australian government denies the accusations though.

The Seimas Ombudsmen defend the human right to good public administration, which ensures human rights and freedoms and oversees public authorities to ensure they comply with their duty to adequately serve the people. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen also carry out national prevention of torture at detention facilities under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.