Today 18 September, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu made a video statement at an urgent debate of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Belarus.
According to Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, today’s event is an important diplomatic achievement and demonstrates how the international community will continue to use major international fora to raise the human rights abuses committed by Belarusian authorities until the violence against peaceful protesters has ended and those responsible have been held to account.
In his statement, the minister highlighted the fact that the Belarusian authorities still refused to begin national dialogue and were speaking to their people in the language of repressions and arrests. Ambassadors of European Union member states, including Estonia’s ambassador to Belarus, are still keeping watch around the clock at the apartment of Sviatlana Alexievich, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Out of the seven members of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, Alexievich is the last to remain free and on the territory of Belarus. The remaining members of the Coordination Council’s leadership have been detained or forced into exile.
“We insist that Belarus cooperates fully with the Special Rapporteur by granting her free, full and unhindered access to the territory of the country, including to all places of detention,” Reinsalu said. Yesterday, Estonia and 16 other states proposed the creation of an independent mission of experts under the aegis of OSCE to investigate the human rights violations and election fraud committed in Belarus.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus Anaïs Marin, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Ekaterina Novikava spoke at the debate.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an intergovernmental body responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations. UNHRC has 47 members, elected by the UN General Assembly in New York. If the human rights situation requires it, the UNHRC can hold an urgent debate in addition to its regular discussions. The urgent debate on the human rights situation in Belarus was called on the initiative of the European Union and its member states.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia