Item 3 - Interactive dialogue with the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances. NB8 Lithuania (19.09.2023)

UN Human Rights Council, 54th session

Item 3 - Interactive Dialogue with UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

Statement of the Republic of Lithuania, on behalf of Nordic-Baltic countries delivered by the Permanent Representative Ambassador Darius Staniulis

19 September 2023

Thank you, Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Lithuania.

We thank the Working Group for its tireless work to shed light on enforced disappearances and to respond to calls for help by victims’ families. Thousands of people disappear due to their civil or political activities. They experience torture and executions, while their relatives live in despair.

It is deeply regrettable that new digital technologies are used to suppress civil society and facilitate enforced disappearance, for example Internet shutdowns, cyberattacks, and mass surveillance, to name some. We must ensure that digital technologies are developed, regulated and used ethically, responsibly, and in accordance with human rights.

We are deeply troubled that some States use enforced disappearances as a tool to intimidate and silence civil society, including human rights defenders, political dissidents, lawyers, journalists and other media workers. As the report states, these human rights violations often increase before, during and after elections, undermining crucial democratic processes.

It is a common responsibility of all States to ensure justice for victims, properly investigate enforced disappearances and hold perpetrators accountable. We encourage countries to accept visit requests from the Working Group and to fully cooperate.

Dear Panellists,

What most effective mechanisms can international community use to hold States accountable for practicing enforced disappearances?

I thank you.