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Amendments to the Law on Mental Health Care at the attention of the Seimas Ombudsmen

2018 m. balandžio 3 d.

IMG 0302At the meeting with experts on human rights and mental health, the Seimas Ombudsmen Augustinas Normantas and Raimondas Šukys discussed the conformity of the amendments to the Law Mental Health Care with the international obligations of the country in the field of human rights.

Representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and non-governmental organisations together with the Seimas Ombudsmen, discussed the implementation of recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Lithuania related to Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other provisions.

Introducing the draft law to the Seimas Ombudsmen Director of the State Mental Health Centre Ona Davidonienė noted that the law is being amended for the first time. Therefore the amendments seek to encompass the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

The new law establishes an obligation to consider compulsory hospitalisation and treatment in court with the participation of the patient. Moreover, the draft law foresees a possibility for the patient to appeal against the decision regarding compulsory hospitalisation to a higher instance court.

The Seimas Ombudsmen welcomed positive efforts to improve patients' rights drawing the attention of the representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice to the need to amend the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure in line with amendments to the draft law on Mental Health Care. “Without amending the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, which regulate the appeals procedure, there will be no possibilities to implement more progressive provisions of the Law on Mental Health Care,” said the Ombudsman of the Republic of Lithuania Raimondas Šukys.

Representatives of non-governmental organisations among which the President of the Lithuanian Disability Forum Dovilė Juodkaitė and Director of Mental Health Perspectives Karilė Levickaitė, noted that the law needs to be improved by narrowing down and specifying the grounds for compulsory hospitalisation as well as distinguishing between the compulsory hospitalisation and treatment institutes.

The Seimas Ombudsmen, in their role as a National Human Rights Institution, will provide their position to the Parliament on the compliance of the amendments to the Law on Mental Health Care with the international obligations of the country in the field of human rights.

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