On Friday 4 September, on the initiative of Estonia and backed by other UN member states, an Arria-formula meeting is held at the UN Security Council to discuss human rights.
An overview of the state of human rights in Belarus will be given via video link by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Anaïs Marin; the Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; the Vice-Chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Center, Valiantsin Stefanovic; and the Legal Expert for the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Volha Siakhovich.
The meeting is chaired by Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.
According to Foreign Minister Reinsalu, the news from this weekend about the deportation of foreign journalists and accreditation cancellations demonstrates the importance of providing information about the events in Belarus. Thousands of peaceful demonstrators remain in detention and hundreds of people have disappeared. Representatives of the UN have repeatedly expressed concern over the current human rights situation in Belarus.
“Estonia considers it important to give a forum to those who are being silenced. The Security Council is among the most powerful international fora for this purpose, and public pressure can help reduce violence and grave human rights violations,” Foreign Minister Reinsalu said.
The Security Council has a special role in the prevention of violent conflict. The Security Council has previously drawn attention to the fact that severe human rights violations may be an early indicator of conflict with international implications.
The meeting was initiated by Estonia and co-organised by UN Security Council members the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. The virtual meeting is open to all UN member states. Technical support for the event is provided by the Estonian company Global Virtual Solutions.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia