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.

National Satement at the UN Security Council VTC meeting on Libya

Delivered by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN, H.E. Mr. Gert Auväärt

 

I thank the Acting Special Representative Stephanie Williams for her informative briefing. We fully support the work of UNSMIL and the UN-facilitated political process in Libya. In this regard, we sincerely hope that the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya will be appointed as soon as possible.

I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the latest developments in Libya that, however, paints a grim picture of the situation on the ground. We are disappointed to see that the fighting and military escalations continue despite the promises made by both sides of the conflict to respect the Secretary-General’s call for global ceasefire in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To make matters worse, the growing number of attacks, including shelling, mortar fire, and small arms fire, is causing more civilian casualties, as well as damaging and  destroying vital civilian infrastructure such as healthcare facilities and schools. Considering the already dire humanitarian situation and the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the indiscriminate attacks against hospitals are the most appalling. The latest attack on a shelter for displaced people in Tripoli must be condemned in strongest terms. All violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law need to be addressed and the perpetrators must be held accountable.

The conflict parties must return to the negotiating table. The responsibility to stop the ongoing escalations lies with the conflict parties, but also with the international community and this Council.

This brings me to the issue of the arms embargo implementation. Unless the flagrant violations of the UN sanctions regime and the outside actors’ involvement stop, Libya does not stand a chance for peace.  It is positive that the Berlin process continues despite the restrictions posed by the pandemic. We call on all the participants to uphold the commitments they made at the Berlin conference.

Estonia continues to support the UN-led three-track approach to the political process in Libya. It is regrettable that the draft ceasefire agreement that was negotiated by the 5+5 Joint Military Committee in February has not yet been signed. We urge the parties to take concrete steps in bringing forward the political solution to the conflict in Libya.