On 18 September 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Belarus at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
In his statement, the Minister invited the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the human rights situation in Belarus and, for this purpose, to establish a UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Belarus. Edgars Rinkēvičs called upon the UN Special Rapporteurs on media freedom, on torture, on human rights defenders, and on violence against women, to get involved in the assessment of the human rights situation. The Minister noted that the Belarusian authorities should be further urged to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.
The Latvian Foreign Minister underlined that the Belarusian authorities must stop detention of journalists and repression of civil society. Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that Latvia would continue to support the civil society, human rights defenders and Belarusian people in their struggle for democracy.
The UN Human Rights Council is the most important UN human rights body, an intergovernmental institution whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world. The Human Rights Council has 47 members elected for three-year terms with seats distributed among regional groups.
At its 45th session on 14 September, the UN Human Rights Council, with 25 votes in favour, two votes against and 20 countries abstaining, approved a proposal from the European Union to hold an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Belarus.
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