We must bring what is happening in Belarus to the world’s attention and hear from those on the ground. Briefers on #BYHumanRights: UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Anaïs Marin; Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; Vice-Chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Center, Valiantsin Stefanovic; Legal Expert for the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Volha Siakhovich. The meeting is chaired by Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The meeting was initiated by Estonia and co-sponsored by UN Security Council members the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

Protecting and promoting respect for human rights

Estonia has ratified all principal UN human rights conventions and presented the reports foreseen in the conventions to the UN treaty bodies monitoring their implementation.

Estonia takes part in the main human rights meeting of the UN: UN Human Rights Council (Estonia was a member 2013-2015) which convenes in Geneva and in the annual Third Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York, which deals with social, cultural and human rights issues.

In the promotion of human rights, Estonia pays special attention to the issues related to the full enjoyment of all human rights by women, to rights of the child and to internet freedom. Estonia also supports the cooperation with and inclusion of civil society in the UN led activities. These topics have been in the focus of Estonia’s human rights statements in addition to the support given to various UN funds and programmes, including the activities of UN Women. Strengthening gender mainstreaming in the UN policies and programmes has been one of Estonia’s priorities in the process of improving the coherence of the UN’s activities. Estonia was the vice-president of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2014-2015 and holds this position at the moment (2017-2019).  Estonia is currently also member of the UN Committee on NGOs.

Estonia attaches equally great importance to the protection of the rights of the world’s indigenous peoples: in addition to addressing the topic in the UN human rights fora, Estonia participated in the UN Working group on a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. Estonian experts have repeatedly been members of the UN Forum of Indigenous Peoples (previously 2014-2016).  Estonia has supported the voluntary UN funds for indigenous peoples (since 2006 and is currently also supporting financially the activities carried out in the frames of the International Year of Indigenous Languages (2019).