Item 3 - Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur onthe rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. NB8 Lithuania. (28.07.2024)

56th session of the Human Rights Council

Item 3 - Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on

the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

Intervention by the Nordic-Baltic States delivered by H.E. Darius Staniulis, Ambassador of Lithuania to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva

28 June 2024

Thank you, Mr. President.

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic states.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for his hard work during his mandate and welcome his final report. We warmly welcome the new Special Rapporteur, Ms. Romero, and wish success in her new role.

Throughout history, peaceful protests have driven some of the most powerful social movements, exposing injustice, fighting discrimination, and demanding accountability. However, current trends are unsettling: increasing severe stigmatization, attacks against civil society, the militarization of police and disproportionate use of force at protests, and rising authoritarianism globally.

We are especially alarmed by the report’s findings on the increasing use of restrictive measures such as "foreign agent" laws, internet shutdowns, and digital surveillance to suppress civil society and dissent. Additionally, the misused technology, including AI and biometrics, aggravates these issues due to inadequate regulations and oversight.

We call on states to refrain from actions that undermine freedom of peaceful assembly and association. We must counter hostile narratives, ensure adherence to international obligations, and enable meaningful public participation for all. We emphasize the importance of robust and timely accountability for violations of the right to peaceful assembly and association.

Madame Special Rapporteur, how can international bodies discourage countries from implementing restrictive "foreign agent" laws that target civil society organizations and independent media?

Thank you.