TALLINN - Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu on Wednesday made a speech at an open high-level virtual sitting of the UN Security Council on the pandemic and the challenges of sustaining peace, in which he raised the issue of post-election demonstrations in Belarus.
"At the outset, please allow me to say few words about very worrying situation in Belarus," Reinsalu said. "The presidential elections in Belarus on Sunday cannot be considered free, fair and democratic. As a result we are now witnessing unprecedented nationwide protests and excessive use of force by the government. Let me underline that violent crackdown of peaceful protests is unacceptable."
"We call on Belarus to immediately end political repressions against the opposition, to avoid any further violence and to uphold respect for human rights," the Estonian foreign minister said.
Reinsalu also spoke about the effects of COVID-19 on crisis hotspots where the pandemic puts an additional burden on already fragile situations.
"Estonia, together with other EU countries, has pledged its continued commitment to UN peacekeeping during the pandemic. We urge others, in particular large troop and financial contributors, to follow suit," he said.
"For peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities to be truly sustainable, we need political will and a strong sense ownership from governments and local communities. Peacebuilding processes need to be inclusive, taking into account the views of local peacebuilders, especially women and youth that are often at the forefront of such activities as well as the ones most affected by the conflict," Reinsalu noted.
The debate "Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Pandemic and the Challenges of Sustaining Peace" was held as part of the Indonesian presidency of the UNSC and also included as participants incumbent Secretary General of the UN Antonio Guterres and former UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon.