At the UN Security Council yesterday 11 November, Estonia called on Belarus to hold new elections. The meeting on Belarus was initiated by Estonia alongside Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
According to Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, as an elected member of the UN Security Council, Estonia considers it crucial to keep the focus on the violence of the Belarusian authorities and show the people of Belarus that the international community has not forgotten them.
“Two months have passed since Estonia called the Arria meeting to discuss the worrying situation in Belarus. Unfortunately, the situation has not improved since then. On the contrary, violence has grown, we have learned about several new cases of torture, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, and other forms of horror and humiliation,” said Estonia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson who represented Estonia at the meeting.
An independent report presented at the Permanent Council of the OSCE last week, written on the initiative of Estonia and 16 other participating states of OSCE, provided strong evidence of the falsification of elections held on 9 August, and subsequent widespread human rights violations with the participation of Belarusian authorities. “The only solution is free and fair elections under OSCE/ODIHR supervision,” Jürgenson said.
Estonia condemns the refusal of Belarusian authorities to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur, the OSCE, and OSCE Moscow Mechanism Rapporteur Wolfgang Benedek. “The authorities of Belarus must end violence, release political prisoners and start a dialogue with the people to hold free and fair elections,” Estonia’s permanent representative emphasised.
Estonia’s statement also condemned the recent decision of Belarusian authorities to expel two British diplomats. The continued suppression of free media is also worrying.
One of the tasks of the Security Council is to help prevent conflicts and stop them from escalating. One of the main objectives of Estonia as an elected member of the Security Council is to ensure compliance with international law, and keep grave violations of human rights in international focus.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia