Human rights and conflict prevention

Conflict prevention

Negotiations during the COVID-19 crisis. Discussion on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts.

The aim of the UN Secretary-General Guterres is to ensure that in addition to ongoing conflicts, the Security Council would also cooperate more actively with the Secretary-General and other UN institutions towards preventing conflicts. UN conflict prevention focuses on three main activities: protecting peace and security, human rights and human dignity, and sustainable development. Secretary-General Guterres underscores the need for a better integration of these three conflict prevention policies.

Estonia supports an approach to conflict management that considers the root causes of crises. The working methods used in peace processes must also be more flexible: a more efficient inclusion of women, more cohesion between the different activities of the UN, including the countries concerned more extensively in peace building. According to Estonia’s position, this is the kind of broad approach that is required when ensuring peace. We support the Secretary-General in his ambitions.

Human rights

Advancing and protecting human rights is one of the objectives and principles of the UN. Ensuring rights such as human rights is a prerequisite for international security and stable relations between states. As early as the late 19th century, the Pärnu-born professor of international law Friedrich Martens (1845-1909) noted that, “the internal and political structure and general way of life of countries have /…/ a decisive effect on a state’s relations with foreign countries. /…/ The more recognisant the government is of its responsibility towards all of its subjects, the more respectful it is of their rights and legal interests, the stronger the internal structure of the state and the more solid the peaceful and legal development of international life”.

Increased tensions in the global security situation have created a need for a more open outlook when analysing the root causes of problems, and more inventiveness in international prevention activities. Grave violations of international law often occur in conflict zones, with women and children too often subjected to the greatest injustice. Sexual violence continues to be used as a common instrument of warfare.

Recruiting and using children in conflict, as well as blocking humanitarian aid is sadly still a daily occurrence in armed conflicts. We consider it crucial to include women in all stages of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction efforts both on local as well as UN level. The rights of children should also be protected during and after conflicts. As an elected member of the Security Council Estonia would take part in discussions on human dignity and human rights. We will boost the image of Estonia as a country that advocates human rights.