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.

Explanation of Vote on UNAMA mandate renewal

Estonia welcomes the adoption of the resolution on UNAMA’s mandate renewal. We thank co-penholders Germany and Indonesia for their hard and efficient work. We believe that the resolution is well-balanced and highlights the Council’s priorities and the most important aspects in UNAMA’s present and future activities.

We welcome the start of intra-Afghan negotiations between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban in Doha on 12 September. This is a ground-breaking moment. It is now more important than ever for the United Nations including UNAMA to fully support Afghanistan, so that the peace negotiations could lead to an inclusive political settlement. A stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan is in all of Afghans and our interests.

Global ceasefire has been repeatedly called on by the entire international community, the Secretary-General and this Council. We stress once again that both parties must fulfill their commitments and work towards ending violence to save civilian lives. Afghans need a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire to accompany the Intra-Afghan negotiations.

The achievements guaranteed by the Afghan Constitution, in ensuring fundamental freedoms and human rights, particularly those of women and children are inalienable and should be highest priority on the agenda of the intra-Afghan negotiations.

The meaningful participation of women and minorities is important in all levels of decision-making. The aim should be a country with economic development and growth, providing new opportunities for its citizens, where rights are upheld and women, children, and marginalized groups are protected.

Finally, considering the important times ahead in Afghanistan, Estonia recognizes that UNAMA has a crucial role to play in supporting Afghanistan’s way towards peace and security and to that end, it would be important for UNAMA to work closely with all parties of Afghanistan, the international community and other international organizations, particularly the European Union.

I thank you.