Estonia to raise Belarusian media freedom issue at UN Security Council

  • 2021-01-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – An informal high-level virtual session of the UN Security Council on the topic of media freedom in Belarus and led by Estonia will be held on Friday.

The main speaker of the event is Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression. The opening remarks will be by Belarusian opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

Other speakers include Pavel Latushko, member of the presidium of the Coordination Council of Belarus and head of the National Anti-crisis Management, Gareth Brown, a journalist for The Times, and a journalist for the Belarusian independent media.

The meeting will be led by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu.

"Violence against journalists and repression in Belarus must end immediately. Impunity must be fought. All those imprisoned for political reasons, including journalists, media workers and bloggers, must be released unconditionally. The perpetrators of the attacks on the independent media must be held accountable," Reinsalu said.

Estonia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jurgenson said emphasized that the promotion and protection of human rights is an important principle and goal of both Estonia and the United Nations. "For Estonia, as an elected member of the Security Council, human rights are inextricably linked to ensuring international peace and security -- if we see that they are being violated, we cannot remain silent," Jurgenson added.

The session is a continuation of the previous high-level Arria-formula meeting organized by Estonia on September 4, 2020, where the human rights situation in Belarus was discussed. The repression of peaceful demonstrations following the illegal presidential elections in Belarus on August 9, 2020 has provided a grim picture of the situation concerning media freedom there.

The event is co-organized by UN Security Council members France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as other UN member states, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.

Those interested can watch the broadcast of the event via the YouTube channel and Facebook page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 4 p.m. on Friday.