25 Feb 2011

by Camilla Azzini

Children’s Rights Ombudsman-Lithuania

Children’s Rights Ombudsman Institution of the Republic of Lithuania acts for the purpose to improve legal protection of children, to defend the rights and legitimate interests of children, to ensure implementation of the rights and legitimate interests of children provided for in international and national legal acts as well as to exercise supervision and control of the implementation and protection of the rights of children in Lithuania. In performing his duties, the Ombudsman has the right to start investigations, to request to immediately submit the information, explanations, material and any other documents required for the performance of the functions, set up working groups and commissions for drafting legal acts and proposals, to inform the President of the Republic, the Seimas (Parliament), the Government or the municipal council of an appropriate municipality and other agencies, enterprises or organisations about violations of legal acts or any shortcomings, contradictions or gaps in legal (administrative) acts and etc.

Having the aim to disclose problems that children, whose parents emigrated abroad from Lithuania, face, the Ombudsman made a research in 2007. Considering the findings and suggestions of the Ombudsman, some positive changes occurred: the new version of the Regulations on Temporary Care of the Child established a temporary child care on the request of his/her parents at the time of their emigration abroad, educational institutions committed to help to solve problems of children who parents are abroad (e.g. to involve them in extra-curricular activities), the Ministry of Education and Science applied to schools asking to ensure that information, available about children who were left for the actual care of the third-party, was passed to municipal Children‘s rights security agencies and etc.

Moreover, taking into account possible problems of children, coming back to Lithuania or arriving from abroad, while integrating to Lithuanian schools, Children’s Rights Ombudsman performed the research in 2009. Considering the identified problems, key solutions (proposals) were submitted to the institutions concerned.