An investigation on the human rights situation at the Foreigners Registration Centre has produced positive results – food expenditure rates for the residents of the Centre are being increased and people with special needs will have access to food according to an individually balanced menu.
“We have received confirmation that the recommendations provided in the report of the investigation regarding the improvement of the human rights situation in the Foreigners Registration Centre are being implemented. The Minister of the Interior assured that from now on the food provided at the Centre will be substantially improved, with at least a one-euro increase in per capita meals, but most importantly people with special needs, like pregnant or breastfeeding women will be provided with an opportunity to eat according to a special menu,” the Seimas Ombudsman Augustinas Normantas shared the results of the investigation.
An investigation conducted by the Seimas Ombudsman at the Foreigners Registration Centre also revealed that the residents professing the Islamic religion were in a particularly difficult situation, since the Centre provided only two menus for catering – traditional (with pork) and alternative (without meat). The Seimas Ombudsman noted that those foreigners are not vegetarians, therefore, although the alternative menu is more in line with their religious beliefs, it does not include poultry dishes. Moreover, the residents themselves complained to the Seimas Ombudsman that the tastes of the served dishes were unflavored and portions small.
In the opinion of the Seimas Ombudsman, the implementation of the recommendations provided during the investigation will not only improve the living conditions of detainees in the Centre, but will also provide an opportunity to choose meals that meet their religious beliefs and needs. From now on, when organizing meals in the Centre, residents will be able to choose one out of three types of meals: traditional (with pork), alternative (without pork) and vegetarian (without meat). The Seimas Ombudsman also noted that in addition, the Centre will provide an opportunity to receive individually balanced meals for persons who need special meals due to their individual physical characteristics.
“It is important to understand that the proper exercise of the right to food is revealed in terms of both meeting the needs of vulnerable people and guaranteeing freedom of religion. Regardless of the economic situation in the country, the state has a duty to ensure the health care of vulnerable persons, decent living conditions and adequate food. Persons whose freedom is restricted due to the fact that they are awaiting a decision on asylum in Lithuania must be provided with food in accordance with their religious beliefs and maintaining a balance between all the interests of persons held in detention,” says Seimas Ombudsman Augustinas Normantas.
The Seimas Ombudsmen protect a person‘s right to good public administration securing human rights and freedoms, and supervise fulfilment by state authorities of their duty to properly serve the people. The Seimas Ombudsmen also conduct national prevention of torture in places of deprivation of liberty in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office is a national human rights institution accredited with an „A status“ by the United Nations.