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 the humanitarian situation in Syria

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

We greatly appreciate the efforts of humanitarian workers on the frontlines in Syria. We also strongly support UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

We thank Mr. Lowcock for his briefing. It is encouraging to hear, that the ceasefire agreement in the Northwest of Syria holds – Estonia supports efforts of Turkey and Russia to sustain this peace and find a permanent settlement.

Looking at the cross-border and cross-line humanitarian aid, we want to stress OCHA’s main conclusion – these are complimentary mechanisms. In order to reach all Syrians, the Security Council needs to maintain both of them.

We can see, how delicate the balance is by looking at, what happened in the Northeast after the closure of Al-Yaroubiah in January. There is now acute shortage of aid in multiple locations. According to OCHA, the urgency of the situation grows, as humanitarian aid only reaches one third of facilities, previously supported through the cross-border mechanism.
We must seriously consider the reopening of Al-Yaroubiah to get to help all those in need.

Estonia calls Security Council members to support the efforts of humanitarian penholders Belgium and Germany in renewing cross-border aid in July. It is even more important now, as Syria faces the spread of Covid-19.

Finally, as other EU members have already explained – the EU sanctions do not hinder humanitarian aid, and the response to the virus. Life-saving equipment and medical items will always freely reach Syria. EU members also remain the largest humanitarian donors to Syrians in the whole region.