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Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Esotnia to the UN at the High-Level Thematic Debate on Human Rights of the UN General Assembly, 14 July 2016

15.07.2016

Mr President,

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights.  
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Estonia’s membership in the United Nations. Throughout these years, Estonia’s main goals have been ensuring and spreading democratic values and the universality of all human rights. Our dedication partly derives from our own historical struggle for freedom, peace and independence. Today Estonia’s accomplishments in the UN are especially reflected by our recently concluded 3-year membership in the Human Rights Council where we abided with a clear stance on the rights of women, children and indigenous people as well as supported the rule of law, democracy and the freedom of speech online and offline. Our dedication to the UN is also reflected this year by holding the positions of the President of the Executive Board of UNICEF and the Vice Chair of ECOSOC where we have been contributing to the protection of the rights of children around the world and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at a global level.

Mr President,

We believe it is the obligation of all member states to contribute and support UN entities advocating a broad range of human rights. UN Women is a good example of such entity to whom we, the member states should show consistent commitment and support. As one of the founders, Estonia strongly supports and encourages UN Women’s devotion for addressing all fields in the universal fight for gender equality. When tackling the issue of  violence against women, there cannot be any room for impunity. Perpetrators must be held accountable. In this regard, Estonia reiterates the important role of the International Criminal Court, particularly in situations where individual States are unable or unwilling to domestically bring perpetrators to justice. Another issue I would also like to draw your attention on is the insufficient involvement of civil society and non-governmental organisations. As NGO’s are vital partners in advocating unheard or silenced voices it is imperative that the United Nations explores additional and effective means to make its negotiation processes more accessible to the them. With all this in mind, we realize that some member state’s relationship with certain issues may differ. But here in the UN, we must cooperate and work in harmony as we tackle these topics and recognize them as universal problems not as singular dilemmas.

Mr President,

In the light of the jubilees of the Human Rights Covenants and the Declaration on the Right to Development, we should be humble about our past achievements, so we can focus on our future. Each country needs to implement the 2030 Agenda into their governmental legislations and constitutions. Without clear and strong governmental support in all countries where human rights violations are present, progress by UN entities such as UN Women will decelerate. But the first step lies in admitting the issues. For we know, that without acknowledging a problem, there cannot be a solution. Currently in Estonia, more needs to be done to eliminate women’s pay-gap and gender-stereotypes. I hereby urge all fellow UN members present here today, to bravely point out the problems their countries face - without shame nor fear for one’s reputation. Here, we stand united together - as one entity fighting for the human rights of everyone in the world.

Mr President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

“The time is always right to do what is right.” (Martin L. King)

Thank you.

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