Foreign minister at the UN: Heal the digital divide

Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) addressing the UN via video link.
Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) addressing the UN via video link. Source: Social Media

Digital divides must be eliminated as quickly as possible, if societies' resilience is to be boosted globally, foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says.

Reinsalu made his remarks at a Franco-German-initiated Alliance for Multilateralism meeting on Friday, where he was one of the main speakers. 

The event took place on the fringes of the 75th annual UN General Assembly. 

The foreign minister called on nations to join the global digital declaration initiated by Estonia and Singapore which nearly 70 countries have signed up to so far. 

Reinsalu also pointed out that to move forward on the basis of this declaration Estonia and the U.A.E. will be hosting a global business forum in December, aimed at bringing together public and private sector representatives, to offer them an opportunity to showcase novel digital solutions. 

The foreign minister added that alongside digitalization, cyber stability must not be kept front and center. 

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

Reinsalu also participated in another topic of interest for him, that of freedom of religious beliefs and practices, which he says in Estonia is on a par with freedom of thought and expression. 

As evidence of this, the foreign minister pointed to the condemnation of the Belarusian regime's refusal of entry for the head of the Catholic Church in that country, Archbishop of Minsk and Mohilev Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, who had come under suspicion for supporting opposition politicians and movements there. 

Reinsalu also expressed concern over the plight of the Rohingya (a stateless ethnic group who are largely muslim and predominantly live in Myanmar), Uighurs (who mostly live in northwestern China and again are primarily muslims) and ethnic Tartars in Russian Federation-occupied Crimea. 

A total 74 countries took part in the meeting. 

The Alliance for Multilateralism brings together more than 50 UN member states, and was inaugurated last year.

The International Religious Freedom Alliance is U.S.-led and so far has brought over 30, primarily historically christian, countries together from the Americas, Africa and Europe, including Estonia.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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