Thank you Chairperson,
Madame High Commissioner,
Latvia aligns with the statement delivered by the European Union, as well as of Sweden on behalf of Nordic countries and Germany, and other EU countries, and would like to make a few remarks in national capacity.
Thank you for your presentation, providing thorough and comprehensive update on the human rights situation since the last reporting period. I would like to express Latvia’s strong support to High Comissioner’s leadership and efforts of her team in promoting human rights worldwide.
Latvia continues to be extremely worried about the deterioration of human rights situation in the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine.
In illegally annexed Crimea, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has continued to document international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations. Proper and unimpeded access of international and regional human rights monitoring missions, including the OHCHR, as well as human rights non-governmental organisations to this territory is crucial to analyse and monitor human rights situation on the ground.
Latvia is particularly concerned about human rights situation of Crimean Tatars, who continue to be disproportionately affected by police raids of their homes, businesses and meeting places and continue to face suppression of freedom of expression. We also reiterate our deep regret that conscription campaigns of male Crimean residents continue. We concur with the OHCHR’s recommendations in this regard.
I would like to ask you two questions. First, how would you assess the situation in illegally annexed Crimea with regard to the right of freedom of expression, especially after the introduction of new laws by the Russian Federation on 18 March 2019 on offences of "public insults towards State authorities" and "distribution of false information of public importance"?
And second – referring to various reports about human rights violations, including torture and the lack of medical assistance in detention places in the illegally annexed Crimea, what is your assessment of the possibility of providing better international monitoring access to these detention places?