On Friday (January 22), on the initiative of Estonia, the UN Security Council will hold an informal high-level virtual meeting to discuss media freedom in Belarus. The meeting starts at 4 p.m. EET.
The keynote speaker is Irene Khan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression and opinion. Opening remarks will be made by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the leader of democratic Belarus. Other speakers include Member of the Coordination Council Presidium and Head of National Anti-Crisis Management Pavel Latushko, international journalist Gareth Browne and a representative of an independent Belarusian media outlet.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) will chair the meeting.
"Violence and repressions against journalists in Belarus must end immediately. We must fight impunity. All individuals imprisoned for political motives, including journalists, media staff and bloggers, must be released unconditionally. Those responsible for attacks on representatives of independent media must be held to account," Reinsalu said.
Estonia's Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson emphasized that advancing and protecting human rights was an important principle and goal of Estonia as well as the UN.
"As a UN Security Council member, Estonia considers human rights indispensable to international peace and security – we cannot remain silent if we see that they are being violated," he said
The meeting builds on a previous high-level Arria-formula meeting organized by Estonia on September 4, 2020, which focused on human rights in Belarus. The suppression of peaceful demonstrations following the fraudulent presidential elections on August 9 has painted a grim picture of the state of media freedom in Belarus.
The event is co-organized with UN Security Council members France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as other UN member states Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.
Watch the meeting below.
Or here on YouTube.
Editor: Helen Wright