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Eesti in brief - 2012-11-15

Nov 14, 2012

Estonian and Latvian defense forces that twenty years ago started from the same line, have reached very different levels, and Estonian security expert Kaarel Kaas says that Latvia presents a security “gap,” reports Postimees. Postimees writes in an article entitled ‘Estonia’s biggest security danger is Latvia’ that by 2012 a state has been reached where Estonia is the only one of the three Baltic States that has an independent defense capability, meaning that the Estonian defense forces can fight a war and defend itself. Lithuania can to some extent also be in that category, but Latvia certainly not anymore. With a background of the non-existent defense of forces of Latvia, in case of theoretical military conflict, Estonians inevitably have to count on having to defend its southern border too, the paper writes. The newspaper says that while the claim made by the title of the article may be an exaggeration, the worry, frustration and sometimes indignation towards the attitude to defense matters among Estonia’s neighbors is spreading in the Estonian defense forces, Defense Ministry and among security experts.

On Nov. 13, elections for the UN Human Rights Council took place in New York and Estonia was elected to be a member of the council from 2013-2015, reports LETA. Estonia’s candidacy received support from 184 out of 193 countries. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that this tremendous support indicates that Estonia is appreciated and taken seriously as a player in the international human rights sector. Foreign Minister Paet asserted that while membership in the UN Human Rights Council is an important achievement for Estonia, it is undoubtedly also a great responsibility to be involved in a council that discusses human rights developments, challenges and violations all over the globe and that helps to prevent and react to conflicts and massive human rights violations. The Human Rights Council was established with a decision by the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006 as the successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights. The creation of the Human Rights Council was an important step forward in protecting and promoting human rights all around the globe.

The Riigikogu Support Group for Human Rights and Political Freedoms in Iran will hold an international conference on Nov. 12 on the subject of Iran, reports delfi.ee. The short conference will point out Iran’s problems in the field of human rights and on the issues involving the nuclear program. It will also analyze the policies targeted against democratic opposition in the country. One of the organizers of the conference, MP Juku-Kalle Raid, stated that Iran’s bloody repressions against dissidents include political executions. “These repressions have been fiercely condemned by a number of international human rights organizations,” he said. The conference will be attended by a number of foreign visitors; the guest of honor will be the head of the Iranian resistance movement Maryam Rajavi.

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