TALLINN - Mart Volmer, deputy secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented Estonia at this week's high-level meetings in New York, organized by the Belgian presidency of the United Nations' Security Council.
The events focused on protecting children in armed conflicts and supporting countries emerging from crises after widespread and systematic violations of international law, including human rights, spokespeople for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
According to Volmer, both discussions were important and connected by the aim to alleviate human suffering. "In 2018 alone, more than 12,000 children were killed or seriously injured in conflicts, and tens of thousands of minors are currently forced to participate in warfare. The UN is doing substantial work to reduce this number and on Wednesday, I was happy to endorse practical guidelines for negotiators and mediators on behalf of Estonia, along with other members of the Security Council. This will help further integrate child protection in peace processes," the deputy secretary general said.
Belgium's King Philippe also spoke at the briefing.
Speaking at the discussion on transitional justice, Volmer drew parallels with Estonia's experience after the restoration of its independence. "If we intend transitional justice mechanisms to truly heal grief-stricken communities, the measures taken need to be comprehensive and based on international law. Based on our own national experience, in order overcome the harmful legacy of mass atrocity crimes, it is vital to build strong institutions capable of preserving rule of law and ensuring human rights for all," he said.
Estonia supports international and independent efforts to collect data and preserve evidence of human rights violations, including in the current crises of Syria and Myanmar.
The Security Council also adopted a resolution on Libya this week to help reduce external interference and bring the parties to the negotiating table. Before the vote, Volmer read the joint statement of Estonia, Belgium, France, Germany and former elected member Poland to stress, among other things, the importance of ensuring a ceasefire.
On the sidelines of the event, the deputy secretary general also held a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Guatemala Pedro Brolo. Talks included bilateral relations, the importance of cyber security, climate change and its effect on Guatemala's economy. Volmer and Brolo also discussed Estonia's experience with the implementation of digital services and opportunities for cooperation in the digital domain.