I thank Kenyan Presidency for organizing this open debate today. I extend my warmest welcome to the Secretary General and His Excellency Thabo Mbeki for their insightful briefings. I also thank Ms. Fawzia Koofi on her presentation on the evolving situation in Afghanistan, and important role of women in peacebuilding.
Looking into the role of diversity in peacebuilding can be like opening a Pandora’s Box. The multitude of differences – whether ethnic, religious, or political – exacerbate already existing economic and social problems. Maintaining stability will be even more difficult, when we do not dismantle radicalized identities in time.
In an effort to identify ways to overcome challenges in building peace, the experience of the European community is worth examining. Different cultural, ethnic, religious and political groups have reconciled under the banner of United in Diversity – the official motto of the European Union.
As we look forward, new challenges to cooperation are rising. These fresh tensions are growingly playing out in cyberspace. Extremist groups use it to mobilize their followers, while authoritarian states utilize cyberspace to extend its reach, control and interests within and outside their state borders. Attacks on critical infrastructure, manipulation of information, interference in elections – all remain a substantial concern to us.
I reiterate Estonia’s position that the efforts at the UN play an important role in advancing responsible state behavior in cyberspace. As a priority, the EU and its Member States are committed to promoting a global, free, open, stable and secure cyberspace, grounded in existing international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law.
Mr. President – respect for diversity does not mean tolerating authoritarian attempts to limit freedom of expression and suppress other human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The promotion and protection of human rights is one of the most efficient means of conflict prevention. Importantly – this notion also entails the important role of women in peacebuilding, and respect for gender equality.
We render our full support to the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights. This transformative vision underpins the work of the entire UN system. The success of the European experiment is a result of unity based on these very same notions. Respect for human rights is essential to addressing the broad causes of all complex crises, and to building sustainable, safe, and peaceful societies.