Presenting the report on the asylum procedures of migrants to the members of the Seimas, the Seimas Ombudsman Augustinas Normantas emphasised that the Government and the Seimas Committee on Human Rights were informed about the existing problems back in June. The Government had been asked to notify the Seimas Ombudsman about the time of consideration of issues related to migration; however, failed to do so.
The Seimas Ombudsman stated that after receiving a formal response from the Minister of the Interior, he initiated human rights monitoring visits under the OPCAT and by 15 September eighteen places of deprivation of liberty of foreigners had been visited.
Drawing the attention to the fact that part of the detained foreigners with young children were accommodated in tents, the Seimas Ombudsman noted that although the situation had changed, many of the identified problems were being addressed sluggishly.
According to A. Normantas the significance of the submitted report is confirmed by the fact that only after submission of the report and its presentation in the media did information appear that foreigners, who had been suffering from cold in military hangars, were finally relocated.
According to A. Normantas, the information about the push-backs of migrants presented in the media only supports the circumstances established in the report submitted to the Seimas. Here it should be noted that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency “Frontex” also reported violations at the border of Lithuania.
The Seimas Ombudsman emphasised that the problems of accommodating foreigners in big groups in such places as former care homes or schools, without ensuring basic personal hygiene, privacy needs, and adequate food, are still poorly addressed.
Speaking to the members of the Seimas, A. Normantas noted that issues of access to health care services are resolved too slowly and the fundamental right to privacy is violated. Furthermore, failure to ensure identification of vulnerable persons at the border, performing push-backs instead, the lack of procedures for assessing the needs of vulnerable persons, the special needs as well as failure to identify the victims of violence is of primary concern.
Concluding the presentation of the report and answering the questions of the members of Seimas, A. Normantas noted that the right of asylum seekers to be informed about their rights and obligations, as well as information related to the examination of an asylum application, provision of legal information and consultations are also not adequately ensured.