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 Statement at the UN Security Council VTC meeting on Somalia

Delivered by Permanent Representative of Estonia to UN Mr. Sven Jürgenson

I would like to join others in thanking the briefers for their insightful overviews.

Estonia is concerned about the expansion of COVID-19 in Somalia, and we welcome measures taken to combat the spread of the disease.  However, even in the face of the obstacles created by COVID-19 pandemic, we believe that Somalia together with the international community, should not lose the sight of the long-term goals of state-building. In this connection, we would like to highlight the following.

On the political front, the peaceful, transparent and “one person, one vote” elections, in the agreed timeframe, must remain a priority. In this regard, it is crucial that the Federal Government of Somalia and all Federal Member States urgently resume their dialogue. It is also important that the remaining issues regarding the electoral law are addressed. We warmly welcome any progress made, and strongly encourage further efforts to these ends.

On the security front, we welcome the commitment of Somali authorities to update the Transition Plan. Clear timelines, clear tasks and a clear vision, is crucial in order to achieve the end goal of Somalia taking full responsibility for its security. We will reach the best results on how to get there, if all stakeholders work closely together. Therefore, we encourage the Somali authorities and all key partners to engage in inclusive discussions about international support on the post-2021 arrangements. We also welcome the joint operations against Al-Shabaab in the Lower Shabelle. However, we underline the need for the military operations against Al-Shabaab to be conducted in compliance with human rights and international humanitarian law.

We are very concerned about the threat of the increased use of Improvised Explosive Devices in Somalia (IEDs). To address this trend, we should support Somalia on the development of a national regulatory framework, which would help to effectively combat this threat. Additionally, on the operational level, it is also important to support the capacity building of security institutions and Somali National Army through provision of training and equipment.

Finally, Estonia is deeply concerned about the current humanitarian situation, which is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the locust infestation as well as the floods. We are concerned that the humanitarian response plan for 2020 remains only 17% funded, and we call for international community to address this.

I would like to conclude by expressing Estonia’s thanks and support to the work of the UN in Somalia, to AMISOM and to Somali security forces for their efforts, commitment and sacrifices to make long-term peace and stability in Somalia a reality.

Thank you!