HRC55 – Item 4: General Debate – Statement by Estonia to be delivered by H.E. Ambassador Riia Salsa-Audiffren – 20 March 2024

Mr. President,

Estonia fully aligns with the EU statement and refers to Nordic-Baltic statements delivered during Interactive Dialogues under item 4.

Estonia condemns, in the strongest possible terms, Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. Russia’s inhuman behaviour blatantly violates international law. The perpetrators of atrocity crimes must be brought to justice. We welcome the recent decision of the ICC to issue arrest warrants for two Russian commanders, both allegedly responsible for the war crimes of attacking civilian objects and of causing harm to civilians.

In Russia itself, human rights violations and repressions that have been going on for years, have reached unprecedented levels since the full-scale invasion to Ukraine. The death of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny demonstrates once again the brutal and murderous nature of Russia’s regime. We believe that after the elections – a farce – the repressive system will turn even more blatant.

In Belarus, unfair trials, systematic repression and harsh reprisals of political dissent together with the prevailing culture of impunity, have been going on for years. High Commissioner has already concluded that some of the violations may amount to crimes against humanity. At least 1,500 people are behind bars in unbearable conditions on politically motivated charges. Just a few weeks ago, another political prisoner, Ihar Lednik, died in a Belarusian prison.

In the context of the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas, we clearly condemn terrorism, but remain concerned over high numbers of civilian casualties in Gaza. There must be accountability for violations of international law and renewed collective resolve to reach a political solution, founded on full respect and protection of the human rights of Israelis and Palestinians.

There are too many States where misogyny is deeply rooted in society and the rights of women and girls are violated in many aspects. Protecting women means protecting the rights, freedoms and autonomy of half of the humanity. We call upon all states to respect, protect and fulfil all human rights of all persons.

I thank you!