Lithuania draws attention to human rights violations in Russian-occupied territories at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council
Today in Geneva, the 34th session of the Human Rights Council, which lasted for four weeks, has concluded. Addressing the Council during the High-Level Segment on 28 February, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius highlighted the dramatic deterioration of the human rights situation in the conflict-affected regions, especially in the Russian-occupied territories of neighbouring Ukraine and Georgia. In his speech, Linkevičius also urged the Council to immediately address the safety of journalists.
During the 34th session, Lithuania took the floor in interactive dialogues on the following topics: the rights of persons with disabilities; the rights of the child in armed conflict; the situation of human rights in Moldova; the situation of human rights in Ukraine, with specific emphasis on Russia’s responsibility for the human rights violations in the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula and the Donbass region. On 28 February, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister participated, together with the Ukrainian and Latvian Foreign Ministers Pavlo Klimkin and Edgars Rinkēvičs, in a discussion that was jointly organised by the three Permanent Missions on the margins of the 34th session of the Human Rights Council focusing on the human rights situation of the Crimean Tatars in the Russia-occupied Crimean Peninsula.
On 16 March, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus the outcome of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Lithuania. For the new cycle Lithuania has taken up for implementation 153 (out of 172 submitted) recommendations made by other UN Member States and non-governmental organisations in order to further enhance the enjoyment of the human rights in the country. During the adoption of the outcome of the second cycle and the acceptance of commitments for the third cycle, the UN Members welcomed law amendments adopted by the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania that prohibit all forms of violence against children and Lithuania’s commitment to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The UPR mechanism was established by the UN General Assembly in 2006 and applies to all the UN member states without exception. It aims at improving the human rights situation in each country on the basis of the recommendations made by other UN member states and civil society. The relevant authority of the country concerned makes the decision on the acceptance of specific recommendations.
During the 34th session, Lithuania co-sponsored 21 resolutions and 11 joint statements. Among these, the most important ones are on: the human rights defenders; the freedom of religion and belief; the democracy and the rule of law; the right to privacy; the rights of the child; the renewal of the mandate for the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the human rights and environment; the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment; the situation of the human rights in Myanmar, Iran, North Korea, South Sudan, and Syria.
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system that was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. The Council is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of the human rights and freedoms, and for addressing the situations of human rights violations, and making recommendations on them. Each year on the first week of the spring session of the Human Rights Council, the High-Level Segment takes place during which the ministers and government officials of the UN member states are given the opportunity to provide guidelines and good practices on the human rights policies. Currently an observer state, Lithuania has submitted its candidacy for a membership of the Human Rights Council for the period of 2022-2024.