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 on Georgia by H.E. Ambassador Karen Van Vlierberge, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belgium, made on behalf of Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and incoming Council Member Estonia, 8. August 2019

I would like to make the following statement today on behalf of Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, the UK and the US joined today by Estonia as a forthcoming EU Member of the Security Council.


7 August 2019 marked 11 years since the conflict between Russia and Georgia. Today the Security Council heard a briefing by Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, and discussed developments since then. We remember those who died and those who lost their homes, and regret that little progress has been made on conflict resolution since the signing of the Agreements of 12 August and 8 September 2008.  We firmly support Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Russia’s recognition of the so-called independence of South-Ossetia and Abkhazia and the deepening of its security relationship with both de facto authorities demonstrate a lack of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors and for the rules-based international order. We are extremely concerned about the intensification of the so-called borderisation process.

These acts prolong the conflict, while destabilizing Georgia and the region as a whole. Today we call again on the Russian Federation to fully implement her obligations under the Agreements of 12 August and 8 September 2008. The Six Point Agreement of 12 August includes commitments to ensure that armed forces withdraw to positions held before hostilities began, and to establish an international security mechanism.

We reiterate our support for the respect and protection of the human rights of IDPs and refugees in particular with regard to their voluntary, safe, dignified and unhindered return to their homes in accordance with international law. The topic of refugees and IDPs is at the core of the mandate of the Geneva International Discussions. Although these discussions initially enabled progress towards reconciliation, we regret the lack of commitment and progress achieved in this format, and further call on the authorities exercising effective control over the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to facilitate access to these regions for the relevant humanitarian and human rights actors.

We remain steadfast in our support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia and encourage all parties to redouble their efforts within the Geneva International Discussions.