New Commission for the Monitoring of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities starts its work
The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson Agneta Skardžiuvienė approved the composition of the newly established Commission for the Monitoring on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The commission of five members will monitor Lithuania‘s compliance with its international law obligations.
The Commission functioning under the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson will monitor the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Commission has already started its work and organized the first meeting on the 11th of July. On this day the experts of the Commission elected Kristina Dūdonytė as the chairwoman and Dalia Mikalauskaitė as her deputy.
The chairwoman Dūdonytė also works as a chairperson of the Board at Association of Independent Living and a member of MIRABILIA and the European Network on Independent Living. In 2015 she won the National Equality and Diversity Award in the Overcoming Obstacles category. In 2019 Dūdonytė was awarded with Alytus Year Award for organizing social action to defend and uphold the rights of persons with disabilities.
The deputy chairperson Mikalauskaitė is a registered lobbyist and a member of the Board of ”Vilniaus Viltis“ – a community for people with intellectual disabilities. Furthermore, she is actively advocating for reinforcement of the existing legislation in order to improve the provisions of the Convention.
Other members of the Commission include:
Audronė Daukšaite-Timpė –a senior adviser at the Legal Division of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. Her work in the Office is linked to investigating the cases of discrimination on the ground of disability.
Dovilė Juodkaitė – a lawyer, lecturer and president of the Lithuanian Disability Organizations Forum. Since 2009 she has been actively working on ratification, implementation and monitoring of the Convention in Lithuania and other countries. Juodkaitė is also a national member and expert of the World Health Organization “QualityRights” initiative.
Vytautas Pivoras – a Board member of the Lithuanian Deaf Association. For many years he has represented the deaf community to improve the information and communication environment and the quality of education for deaf persons. During 2015-2018 Pivoras was the president of the Lithuanian Deaf Association. He participated in the Parliament working group preparing the amendments to the Law on the National Radio and Television. Currently he is occupied with developing methodological tools and trainings in Lithuanian sign language.
The experts of the Commission will provide the guidance, prepare and publish reports related to the implementation of the Convention. They may draw upon other experts’ knowledge and evaluations, propose to the Ombudsperson to initiate investigations on potential discrimination cases, deliver the opinion on the existing legislation compliance with the provisions of the Convention.
The Ombudsperson Skardžiuvienė is glad that the experts will strengthen the national protection of the rights of people with disabilities. “Lithuania ratified the Convention nine years ago. There have been several changes since then but there is still much to be done to achieve full equality for people with disabilities. I believe that such independent Commission will speed up this process,” says Skardžiuvienė.
The members of the Commission were appointed by the Ombudsperson for a four-year term. The appointment was based on recommendations from the Special Selection Board and the member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prof. Jonas Ruškus.