The United Nations Security Council high-level Arria-formula meeting on Media Freedom in Belarus

On Friday, January 22 at 9.00 EST / 16.00 EET, an informal high-level virtual meeting is organised by UN Security Council members Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, together with additional co-sponsors Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.

This meeting builds upon an earlier high-level Arria-formula meeting (4 September 2020) on the human rights situation in Belarus. Since the peaceful demonstrations in Belarus following the fraudulent presidential elections on 9 August 2020, we have seen a grim picture of media freedom there. Detentions, imprisonment, torture, as well as death threats are parts of the daily life of journalists in Belarus.

The Charter of the United Nations (article 55) sees “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights” as integral to the “creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations”. An increase in human rights violations has often preceded the eruption of an acute conflict, thus it is necessary for the Security Council to receive timely information on grave violations of human rights.

The UN Security Council resolution 2222 (27 May 2015) on the Protection of civilians in armed conflict,  says that the work of free, independent and impartial media constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and thereby can contribute to the protection of civilians.

The debate will be chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, H.E. Mr Urmas Reinsalu.

The meeting will take place on Friday 22 January 2021 via video conference at 9.00 AM (NYC time, EST). There will be statements by briefers and the UN Security Council members as well as by other UN member states. The meeting will be streamed live and opened to public via YouTube, Facebook and the homepages of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Mission of Estonia to the UN . The meeting will be held in English and no simultaneous interpretation is offered.


  • H.E. Ms Irene Khan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression


  • Ms Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Leader of democratic Belarus


  • Mr Pavel Latushko, Member of the Coordination Council Presidium, Head of National Anti-Crisis Management
  • Mr Stanislav Ivashkevich, investigative journalist and producer at Belsat TV
  • Mr Gareth Browne, Journalist of the Times