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HRC45: Nordic-Baltic countries condemn reprisals against those engaging with the UN in the field of human rights

45th session of the Human Rights Council
 Interactive Dialogue with the Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights on the report of the Secretary-General on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights
30 September 2020
Intervention by the Nordic – Baltic States 
delivered by H.E. Amb. Andrius Krivas, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva

Thank you, President. 

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.

Our countries firmly believe that a vibrant civil society, free from threats, intimidation and reprisals, both online and offline, is essential to the promotion and protection of human rights and creation of free and democratic societies. 

We are alarmed by the deteriorating environment for and continued reports of intimidation and reprisals against those engaging with the United Nations in the field of human rights. Unfortunately, the cases mentioned in the Secretary General’s report highlight only the tip of the iceberg. 

The increase in allegations of reprisals against women or those working on women’s enjoyment of human rights and gender-related issues, especially during COVID-19 pandemic, is particularly worrisome. 

We call on all states and non-state actors to ensure a safe and enabling space for civil society. The acts of intimidation or reprisals are unacceptable, undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the United Nations as a whole, and should be promptly investigated to ensure accountability and effective remedies for the victims.

We thank the Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary-General and OHCHR for their important work in this field and would like to ask: how can we further address the issue of reprisals in a gender-transformative manner?