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UN Committee: there are many detainees and overcrowded prisons in Lithuania

Petras Vaida, BC, Vilnius, 28.05.2014.Print version
The Committee against Torture drafted concluding observations on the third periodic report of Lithuania on 23 May. UN Committee voiced concern over socializations centers where minors are placed, as well as overcrowded prisons in Lithuania, reported BC the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office’s press service.

The Committee expressed concern at duration, and the high number of persons held in pretrial and administrative detention by pointing out that pretrial detention is not used as a measure of last resort.


The Seimas Ombudsman Raimondas Šukys, who participated in hearings of the third periodic report of Lithuania in Geneva, agreed with the value of UN Committee’s concluding observations and the need to achieve them:


“The Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office started implementing national prevention of torture in Lithuania only in the beginning of 2014 when the Seimas issued mandate to the Ombudsmen Office and we intend to draw attention of the Ministry of Justice to the necessity to implement these recommendations,” – said the ombudsman.


In addition, UN Committee against Torture also expressed concern over material conditions, such as hygiene, access to natural and artificial light, ventilation, portioning of sanitary facilities, clean mattresses as well as bedding in arrest houses. 


“Detained persons do not enjoy in practice all the fundamental legal safeguards against torture and ill-treatment that should be afforded from the very outset of deprivation of liberty,” – written in concluding observations.


UN experts also expressed doubt about the conditions in the Vilnius Police Headquarters Arrest House: “There are a number of cells with no access to natural light or ventilation that are also used for lengthy administrative detention.”


The UN committee stressed the importance of a national human rights institution in concluding observations. It also expressed concern whether the Seimas Ombudsmen will have sufficient financial and staffing resources to carry out both “the mandate of national human rights institution and that of national preventive mechanism under Optional Protocol to the Convention.”


The Head of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office Arminas Lydeka said that despite insufficient financial and staffing resources, the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office has already started implementation of the national prevention of torture under the Optional Protocol (OPCAT).


“There are over 400 detention places in Lithuania including correctional institutions, detention centers, psychiatric institutions and institutions of communicable diseases. Care homes, border checkpoints, the Foreigners' Registration Centre and other places of deprivation of liberty are within this number, so to monitor all of them is extremely complicated, however, necessary, “ – Mr. Lydeka said.


The third periodic report of Lithuania was presented on 12-13 May in Geneva by Governmental delegation headed by Vice-minister of the Ministry of Justice Saulius Stripeika.

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