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Improving the Situation of Women and Children Important to Estonia


No 396-E

During a meeting in New York with UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children Marta Santos Pais, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said improving the situation of women and children is one of Estonia’s human rights priorities.

“Estonia is a member and vice president of the UNICEF Executive Board and a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and the UN Population Fund. To help promote human rights over the last 15 years were have made regular voluntary donations to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF, UN Development Programme, UN Population Fund, and the Fund for Indigenous Populations,” he added.

Paet stated that Estonia is also a member of the UN group that addresses the problems of children in conflict areas. “We feel it is essential that mandates for UN missions include the child protection aspect,” he added.

Paet said that it is becoming ever more important to increase children’s internet safety and protect children from the threats on the internet.

In talking about the situation in Syria, Paet emphasised that Estonia strongly condemns the violence against children taking place there. “The primary responsibility for protecting the country’s children falls on the Syrian government,” said the Estonian foreign minister. “As a member of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Syria must guarantee all the rights named in the convention for its children; the Syrian government must also ensure that humanitarian aid can reach those who need it,” he added.

At his meeting with Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth, Foreign Minister Paet said that perpetrators of severe human rights violations must be held accountable for their actions regardless of their status.

“We support the end of impunity and achieving international justice through the International Criminal Court,” Paet noted. “If we become a member of the UN Human Rights Council, we will support the International Criminal Court through appreciative and supportive language in Human Rights Council resolutions as well as the creation of impartial investigative commissions for uncovering gross human rights violations and gathering evidence,” he added.

Estonia is a first-time candidate to be a member of the UN Human Rights Council, for which elections will be held on 12 November.

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