2022 m. July 25 d.

According to the Seimas Ombudsperson, long-term de facto detention at residential container camp in Medininkai equals to degrading treatment of persons held there

Erika Leonaitė, Head of the Seimas Ombudspersons’ Office, issued a report on the prevention of torture after visits to Medininkai Foreigners’ Registration Center (hereinafter – Medininkai FRC). Having taken into account the circumstances established during the inspections, current international standards and legal acts in force in the Republic of Lithuania, the Seimas Ombudsperson concluded in her report that the living conditions of foreigners housed in Medininkai FRC residential container (modular houses) camp, where they are kept for a long time and without the right to freely leave the territory of the Centre, are equivalent to behavior degrading human dignity.

“The situation in Medininkai FRC is complicated due to various circumstances. First of all, as acknowledged by the interviewed officials, the residential container camp is not suitable for long-term accommodation. For example, the limited power supply capacity means that foreigners are prohibited from having electrical appliances and decisions made during the planning of the camp mean that there is no possibility to bring water pipes to the kitchen containers. Such conditions certainly cause stress and poor psychological state of persons living in restriction of liberty and uncertainty for a long time. Secondly, the lack of social workers and psychologists result in insufficient attention to the needs of persons held there, and become a serious challenge to the officials, who emphasize their difficult working conditions”, says the Seimas Ombudsperson.

The report highlights the nature and degree of actual restrictions applied to all foreigners held in Medininkai FRC (accommodation in a locked dormitory or locked sectors and limited opportunities to move between them, extremely strict restrictions on freedom, the nature of supervision, extremely limited free space in residential sectors, failure to provide daily active and meaningful occupation, long-lasting accommodation i.e. more than 10 months) that can be equaled to de facto detention.

“Some persons have been held in Medininkai FRC residential container camp for more than 10 months now, not only without the possibility to leave the territory of the Center, but also with extremely limited opportunities to go outside their residential sector. As the Medininkai FRC officials claim themselves, when the playing ball ends up behind the fence surrounding the sector, a foreigner cannot go to pick it up without being accompanied by the officials,” highlights the Seimas Ombudsperson.

As concerns material conditions of foreigners accommodation in Medininkai FRC, the Seimas Ombudsperson notes that the absolute majority of foreigners held there are accommodated in residential containers located in four sectors. There is lack of furniture, equipment, and other inventory in their shared premises; there are no stoves and sinks in the containers called kitchenettes, since there is no possibility to ensure sufficient electricity and water supply; moreover, in sector A there is not a sufficient number of toilets for women. Better material conditions are ensured only for vulnerable persons housed in the border guards’ dormitory.

The report also draws attention to the fact that Medininkai FRC does not adequately ensure the right of foreigners to submit requests, complaints, and other appeals. “This issue is extremely important as it is one of the measures to prevent arbitrary decisions and situations where a person submitting a request never gets to know the grounds for its rejection,” emphasizes the Seimas Ombudsperson.

It is to specify that torture prevention monitoring visits of the Seimas Ombudsperson and employees of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudspersons’ Office were carried out in Medininkai FRC on May 24 and June 20, 2022.


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