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Foreign Minister Paet: Estonia Could Contribute More to Discussion on Human Rights Issues as Member of UN Human Rights Council

17.11.2011

No. 371-E

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the protection and promotion of human rights is one of Estonia’s fundamental values as well as one of its foreign policy priorities. Paet stated that human rights have become a more and more important topic in relation to other foreign and security policy issues, such as the developments in North Africa. This is why Estonia is a candidate to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

“Membership in the UN Human Rights Council would give Estonia the opportunity to participate more profoundly in the discussion on human rights issues. Therefore Estonia has proposed its candidacy to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council for the 2013-2015 period,” said the foreign minister.

According to Paet, Estonia will continue to give particular attention to promoting the rights of women and children and indigenous peoples and the protection of the freedom of expression. “Over the years Estonia has paid particular attention to these priorities when promoting human rights in both international organisations as well as in bilateral relations, such as development aid projects in Afghanistan, Georgia and other development co-operation partner countries,” he added. The foreign minister stated that Estonia also actively addresses human rights issues within the framework of the European Union, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the European Council.

Paet noted that Estonia has increased its human rights-related co-operation in the UN year by year. Estonia was the chairman of the Consultative Committee of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) from 2007-2009. An Estonian expert was a member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 2005-2007 as well as 2010-2013. From 2011-2014 an Estonian expert is on the monitoring committee for the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Paet stated that Estonia has been making regular voluntary donations through the UN to promote human rights, including the rights of women, children, and indigenous peoples, for over 10 years. The donations have gone to support the activities of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF, the UN Development Programme, UN Women, the UN Girls’ Education Initiative, and the UN Fund for Indigenous Populations.

 

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