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Joint Nordic Baltic Statement to the Third Committee

UN General Assembly Third Committee – 74th session

Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr. David Kaye

21 New York, October 2019

Statement by Lithuania on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries

 

I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and my own country Lithuania.

We would like to express our gratitude and thank the Special Rapporteur for his comprehensive report and today’s presentation.

The freedom of opinion and expression, both online and offline, is intrinsically linked to other human rights and fundamental freedoms. Freedom of expression is indispensable for good governance, informed decision-making, democracy, free and fair electoral processes and government accountability. Regrettably, it is under continuous attacks. International community is witness to the rising dangers to the freedom of opinion and expression around the world through deteriorating security situations, repressive media climates, and shrinking space for civil society, journalists, media workers, and human rights defenders

Mr. Special Rapporteur, we share your concerns that digital technologies are being used for various types of unlawful surveillance, which together with the lack of adequate legislation and effective safeguards, can contribute to serious human rights violations.

As human rights should not differ in the digital space, it is essential, as you recommend in your report, to establish and adopt co-regulatory initiatives that would include human rights-based standards of conduct for the private surveillance industry.

Mr. Special Rapporteur, in your opinion how could we encourage the proactive approach of private entities in promoting and protecting human rights in their activities?

In conclusion, we would like to reiterate firm commitment of the Nordic and Baltic countries to the promotion and protection of the human rights including freedom of expression - both online and offline, and strengthening of the international commitments in this respect. We reassure you of our support for your mandate and the work carried out in ensuring digital technologies are used for promotion of the freedom of opinion and expression, as opposite of censorship or repressions.

Mr. Special Rapporteur, we wish you success in carrying out your important mandate.

Thank you.

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