A few days ago an international forum “Ethno-Nationalism – a Threat to Security and Stability to the World” in the city of Klaipeda (Lithuania) dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War was practically disrupted.
Three prominent Latvian human rights activists received notifications from Lithuanian authorities ordering them to leave the country within 24 hours, while two others were banned entry to the country for five years.
This brazen act by Lithuanian authorities which can only be considered as persecution of human rights defenders raises deep concern.
Declared commitment by Vilnius to generally recognised democratic values, fundamental human rights and freedoms is yet again undermined by a campaign launched to exert pressure and threaten those who defend views differing from Lithuania’s methodical policy of history falsification and infringement upon rights of national minorities living in the country, Russian-speaking population in particular.
Remarkably, no condemnation of these actions by Lithuanian authorities was voiced by Riga officialdom where persecutions against human rights activists are apparently considered normal practice.
We call upon the international community, including relevant EU institutions, to give a principled assessment of unacceptable actions by Vilnius and encourage Lithuanian authorities to fully implement their country’s human rights obligations under international law.
1 September 2015