Intervention by the Nordic and Baltic States delivered by H.E. Amb. Andrius Krivas, Permanent Representative of Lithuania in Geneva
1 July 2021
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and my own country Lithuania.
We thank the Special Rapporteur for his reports on access to justice and internet shutdowns and express our full support for his mandate.
Access to justice is fundamental to ensuring that human rights are respected, including the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. It is crucial to uphold the rule of law based on independent, competent and impartial judiciaries, and to create, strengthen and expand an enabling environment in the societies. We encourage al as it helps to prevent future violations and abuses and assists in the fight against impunity.
We are deeply concerned about the growing number of governments imposing internet shutdowns, deliberately obstructing functioning of the internet and targeting applications and services used by the protesters. This practice cannot be tolerated.
The current pandemic has reminded us of the importance of access to internet as a precondition for the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms online, including the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. All States must ensure that internet remains open, free, accessible and secure at all times.
Mr Voule, could you please elaborate on the challenges to ensure accountability for restrictions to the rights to freedom of peaceful association and of assembly online, including internet shutdowns, and possible steps that this Council should take to further advance the access to justice and fight against impunity?