Estonian formin at UN: Digital divides of societies must be eliminated

  • 2020-09-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Speaking at a video meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism held on the initiative of France and Germany on Friday, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that in order to increase the resilience of societies, digital divides must be eliminated as quickly as possible.

The meeting that took place as a fringe event of the high-level week of the 75th UN General Assembly this time focused on recovery from the health crisis, in particular the topics of digitalization, healthcare, climate change and gender equality.

In total 74 countries from all over the word took part in the meeting.

As one of the main speakers in the panel for digital and cyber topics, Reinsalu called on nations to join the global digital declaration initiated by Estonia and Singapore that has been joined already by almost 70 nations. The Estonian minister also pointed out that to move forward on the path started with the digital declaration, Estonia and the United Arab Emirates will in December of this year host a global business forum aimed at bringing together public and private sector representatives to offer them an opportunity to showcase novel digital solutions.

Reinsalu said that alongside digitalization, cyber stability must not be forgotten.

"UN member states agreed already in 2013 that valid international law will be applied in the cyberspace," Reinsalu said, adding that the best possible protection of the vital infrastructure of healthcare institutions must be ensured as quickly as possible. 

The Estonian minister also took part in an event focusing on the freedom of religion or belief. Estonia sees protecting the freedom of religion as a matter of ensuring human rights, which goes hand in hand with the freedom of thought and the freedom of expression.

Reinsalu pointed out that within the framework of the international alliance for the freedom of religion or belief established on the initiative of the United States, Estonia has condemned the refusal of entry by Belarus for a citizen of Belarus and the head of the Catholic Church in Belarus, archbishop of Minsk and Mohilev Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz.

The authorities of Belarus are also putting pressure on the religious institutions they suspect of supporting the opposition.

Furthermore, the Estonian minister expressed his deep concern over the Rohingya, Uighurs and Crimean Tatars.

The opening event of the Alliance for Multilateralism took place during the high-level week of the 74th UN General Assembly in New York a year ago. The alliance brings together more than 50 UN member states.

The International Religious Freedom Alliance has been joined by 31 countries, including Estonia.