The Seimas Ombudsman listened to observations of the Independent Commission on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the situation of the rights of persons with disabilities in the country

24 January 2020

On 17 January, representatives of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office met with Dovile Juodkaitė, Kristina Dūdonytė, Dalia Mikalauskaitė, members of the Commission for the Monitoring of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities under the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman,  including Vytis Muliuolis, a representative of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman's Office.

At the beginning of the meeting, Augustinas Normantas, Head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, noted that the versatility of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office and the expanded content of the existing mandates allow for a more thorough analysis of emerging issues. Often, the Seimas Ombudsmen get to know about certain individual problems in places of deprivation of liberty from applicants‘ requests or complaints, but the status of the National Prevention Institution allows to identify the extent and systematic nature of the violations.

'The purpose of the ratified UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment by all persons with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this meeting we particularly appreciate the opportunity to hear and listen to the daily issues of persons with disabilities that need to be integrated into ongoing research and to expand the scope of monitoring visits,” noted Augustinas Normantas, Head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office.

The Seimas Ombudsman also acknowledged that the purpose of this meeting was to look from different angle at the functions of the National Prevention Institution and Commission for the Monitoring of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as emphasized the need to seek common ground and joint possibilities for action in order with the help of close cooperation it would be possible to make another step towards ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities. Everyone at the meeting did not conceal that it will be a very difficult task, but agreed that this organized debate was already a major step forward. 

During the meeting, it was noticed that detention conditions of persons deprived of their liberty are being monitored by the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office while implementing functions of the national prevention of torture; however, Vytautas Valentinavičius, Head of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, drew everyone’s attention to the fact that treatment of a person and attitude towards him/her should be a top priority. For this reason, during implementation of the assigned functions efforts are put forward to systematically assess how human rights are respected and human dignity ensured.

At the end of the meeting, the Seimas Ombudsman assured that investigations are always aimed at grasping the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the idea developed in it on how should be shaped and developed necessary services for the disabled. The Seimas Ombudsman deplored the fact that on this day there is still a wide gap between the principles developed in the Convention and the real situation on implementations of the rights of persons with disabilities.

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