On 1 May, Lithuania takes over the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council. During the month of Presidency Lithuania intends to focus on protection of civilians - safety of journalists in conflict situations, threat posed by small arms and light weapons to the civilian population; as well as ways to combat the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, possible links between organised crime and human trafficking in the Mediterranean, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
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"As the conflict situations are getting more severe, we become highly dependent on swift, even real-time access to information from the conflict zones. Journalists enabling that swift delivery of information work in increasingly dangerous environments. They are more and more at risk of being directly and deliberately targeted, harassed, abducted, and taken for ransom as hostage. In 2014 alone, 61 journalists were killed, 221 were imprisoned. Although under international humanitarian law, journalists enjoy the full protection afforded to civilians, crimes against them continue to grow, and the majority of the perpetrators remain unpunished," said Lithuania's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaitė.

According to the permanent representative, Lithuania consistently raises the issue of safety of journalists in various multilateral formats. High-level debate of the UN Security Council held in May and chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevičius, will address issues of tackling impunity for crimes against journalists, safety of journalists in the areas controlled by non-state actors, as well as safety of journalists and peacekeeping operations.

In May Lithuania will also organise an open debate on the human cost of illicit transfer, destabilising accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. "The illicit transfer, destabilising accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons continue to undermine international peace and security and have devastating human impact in conflict and post-conflict situations, with civilians, bearing the brunt. Wide availability of small arms and light weapons creates a security environment not conducive to humanitarian access, poses threat to the safety of humanitarian workers", says Lithuanian ambassador.

At the high-level meeting on the foreign terrorist fighters Lithuania will invite the UN Security Council to assess progress in the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution No. 2178 adopted in September 2014.

In May, the Security Council will also discuss security implications of the illegal immigration in the Mediterranean, progress of chemical weapons destruction in Syria, the humanitarian situation in Syria and Iraq, the situation in the Middle East, South Sudan, Somalia. The Foreign Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo will present the progress of negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade; the members of the UN Security Council and members and the EU Peace and Security Committee will discuss the challenges of peacekeeping, conflict resolution in Libya and Ukraine.

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