III. Contributions received from non-governmental and other organizations
D. International Federation for Human Rights — Latvian Human Rights Committee
71. The Latvian Human Rights Committee of the International Federation for Human Rights drew the Special Rapporteur’s attention to the increasing number of events honouring Nazi collaborators, including a march that took place on 16 March 2017 in Riga honouring veterans of the Latvian legion of the Waffen SS, which drew more than 2,000 participants, including members of parliament from the co-ruling National Alliance party. Peaceful counter-protesters of the march, including members of the Latvian Anti-Nazi Committee, were ordered by the Riga city authorities to move away from the march. Five peaceful protesters were arrested by the police at the marches. The proceedings regarding the restrictions imposed by the city of Riga remained pending before the Supreme Court of Latvia, at the time of reporting. The Human Rights Committee also noted that the chair of the parliament had taken part in another memorial on 16 March that honoured Latvian soldiers who collaborated with Nazi forces.
72. The Latvian Human Rights Committee recalled that events and memorials for anti-Nazi fighters were facing increased pressure in Latvia. In August 2016, a monument in the town of Limbazi to Soviet navy soldiers who had perished in 1941 was destroyed, on the initiative of Daugavas vanagi Latvija, a local non-governmental organization and the agreement of the municipality. In the annual report of the security police for 2016, issued in April 2017, reference was made to the uno fficial celebrations of the Day of Victory over Nazi Germany as being threats to national security and promoting “Russia-created historical memory”.
73. The Latvian Human Rights Committee stressed the importance of the strong condemnation of any form of discourse honouring collaboration with Nazi Germany or smearing those who fought against Nazism. The Committee suggested that government ministers and coalition members of parliament should refrain from participating in events honouring Nazi collaborators and that they not hinder anti-fascist and anti-Nazi protests. In conclusion, the Committee stressed that the Government of Latvia should be vigorous and consistent in prosecuting cases of hate speech while continuing to respect the freedom of speech.
IV. Conclusions and recommendations
77. The Special Rapporteur is grateful to all States and other organizations for the information provided on the measures implemented pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/179. He also appreciates the contributions received from civil society actors. He recalls the importance of full cooperation with his mandate, which was extended most recently by Human Rights Council resolution 34/35.
79. The Special Rapporteur also reiterates that any commemorative celebration of the Nazi regime, its allies and related organizations, whether official or unofficial, should be prohibited and the prohibition enforced effectively. The Special Rapporteur recalls paragraph 15 of resolution 71/179, in which the General Assembly stressed that such manifestations do injustice to the memory of the countless victims of crimes against humanity committed in the Second World War, in particular those committed by the SS organization and by those who fought against the anti-Hitler coalition and collaborated with the Nazi movement, and may negatively influence children and young people, and that failure by States to effectively address such practices was incompatible with the obligations of States Members of the United Nations under its Charter.
Document data: A/72/291; 04.08.2017 Link: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/72/291 (also available in Russian)