In 2014-2015 Lithuania served its first time term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
“Membership at the UN Security Council provided us with a unique opportunity to directly participate in global policy processes and opened up possibilities to aim to achieve more respect for human rights, democracy and the principle of equality of all countries in international relations. This is especially relevant for Lithuania and other small countries, which seek to protect their rights and interests in a global world and in their close neighbourhood,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius said.
UN Security Council membership was a much cherished result of intense diplomatic efforts.
Throughout its term on the Security Council Lithuania paid particular attention to the consolidation of the rule of law, conflict prevention, combating illicit trade in small arms, protection of civilians, especially women and children in armed conflict, respect for the norms of international humanitarian law and strengthening co-operation between the UN and the European Union. Lithuania also aimed to actively contribute to combating sexual violence as a weapon of war and addressed cyber security and natural resource-related security and conflict challenges.
During the two years of the Security Council membership, Lithuania held the presidency of the Council twice: in February 2014 and May 2015. During its presidencies Lithuania focused on the issues of protection of civilians in conflict situations, preventing illicit transfers of arms and the rule of law. In May 2015 the UN Security Council adopted 2 resolutions drafted by Lithuania: on protection of journalists in conflict situation and on small arms and light weapons.
The UN Security Council resolution drafted by Lithuania urges member-states to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel working in conflict zones. The resolution binds member states to conduct independent, impartial and effective investigations for crimes committed against journalists and to fight impunity. In this resolution the UN Security Council recognized for the first time the role of free and independent media and right to seek, receive and disseminate information online as well as offline. Moreover, the UN peacekeeping operations and political missions are bound to not only actively gather information related to cases of violence against journalists, but also to support national governments in fighting this phenomenon.
The resolution on small arms and light weapons negotiated by Lithuania highlights the human cost of the proliferation of these weapons and emphasizes the need to protect civilians, particularly women, children and other vulnerable groups. The subject of small arms and light weapons is a matter of life and death every single day for hundreds of thousands of people in conflict affected zones.
In May 2015 Lithuania also organized high-level meeting on measures against foreign terrorist fighters that was for the first time in the Council’s history attended by ministers of interior. The ministers discussed implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 2178 (2014) on preventing the international flow of terrorist fighters to and from conflict zones. The Council adopted a presidential statement urging all states to take all necessary measures, including the application of national legislation, enhancing border security, better international coordination and information exchange, to halt the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and from conflict zones.
During the term in the Security Council, Lithuania chairs the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Sanctions Committees concerning the Central African Republic and Yemen.