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.

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative G. Auväärt at UN Security Council Arria meeting on Implementation of Security Council Resolutions on Youth, Peace and Security by UN Peace Operations

Co-Hosted by the Permanent Missions of the Dominican Republic, France, Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Tunisia and the United States to the United Nations”

I thank the colleagues from the Dominican Republic and France for their leadership in taking this topic forward in the Council. I also thank the briefers for their thorough overview of this issue.

It is impossible to build peaceful societies without including the youth. Young people have a right to participate in public life and decision making processes. To make it more clear, there are about 1.85 billion young women and men, 10 to 24 years of age in the world, they are an essential source of new ideas, solutions and innovation. Providing these young people with various backgrounds meaningful and genuine ways to participate and shape their societies is one way to avoid tensions and conflicts and to ensure peace instead. If we fail to do that, we risk alienating the ones who are to take our societies and our world forward.

It is important that we recognize the growing role youth play in peace and security. We are happy to see that YPS resolutions have been implemented among some Peacekeeping operations and special political missions, like the UN verification Mission in Colombia, UN Mission in Kosovo and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. We sincerely hope that such trend is continuing in the UN, where we can show others the way forward. On country level there are still visible barriers to youth participation in decision-making. Youth activists continue to be subject of human rights violations and abuses. Any threats, attacks and acts of intimidation made against youth peace builders, human rights defenders, especially women activists, are unacceptable. These problems make it more difficult for us to include the local youth, as they have never had a proper chance to participate in public life.

There is still a long way to go, but there are already visible achievements which we need to strive to advance further. The YPS inclusion in our everyday work should not be on an ad-hoc basis, but a systematic approach. The young people are reminding us that we need to take a long term and forward looking approach in peace and security, as well as on climate and human rights. It is their right. I am sure that multilateralism has a lot to win from encouraging and supporting youth.

I thank you