Estonia has called on Belarus to hold fresh, free and fair elections, at a meeting held at the UN Security Council (UNSC), where it holds a non-permanent seat.
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says that Estonia considers it crucial that Belarus remain in the wider international picture, to demonstrate to the people of that country that they have not been forgotten, amid a continued violent crackdown in the aftermath of August's presidential elections there.
The elections themselves, which returned Alexander Lukashenka to his sixth consecutive term since 1994, are widely condemned as having been rigged.
"Two months have passed since Estonia called the Arria meeting to discuss the worrying situation in Belarus," said Estonia's Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson, who represented Estonia at the virtual meeting held on Wednesday, at Estonia's initiative, jointly with Belgium, Germany, France and the U.K.
"Unfortunately, the situation has not improved since then. On the contrary, violence has grown, we have learned about several new cases of torture, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, and other forms of horror and humiliation," Jürgenson went on.
An independent report presented at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) permanent council meeting last week provided evidence of the Belarusian elections and their results having been falsified, evidence which Jürgenson presented in support of the calls for new elections, and Estonia has also condemned the refusal of Belarusian authorities to cooperate on the matter with international representatives including the UN Special Rapporteur, the OSCE, and OSCE Moscow Mechanism Rapporteur Wolfgang Benedek.
Estonia has also condemned the recent decision of Belarusian authorities to expel two British diplomats.
The UNSC's remit includes helping to prevent conflicts or to stop existing ones from escalating, as well as ensuring compliance with international law, and highlighting internationally human rights violations.
Editor: Andrew Whyte