Romania will remain a dedicated supporter of the Belarusian people’s right to a democratic future and a rightful place in the European family, Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Tuesday in a keynote speech to the high-level segment of the 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva via videoconference.
“I would like to express Romania’s serious concern about the situation in Belarus. (…) We regret to witness that Belarus still has one of the most restrictive and hostile media environments in Europe. The situation has only worsened after the rigged presidential elections of 2020 and we have urged for abusive measures to stop. Belarus needs support so it can continue on the path towards democratic transformation, according to the legitimate expectations of its citizens. The UN Human Rights Council has a duty to support this effort, along with the international friends and partners of Belarus. Romania will remain a dedicated supporter of the Belarusian people’s right to a democratic future and a rightful place in the European family,” Aurescu is quoted as saying in a press statement released by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE).
He also spoke in context of the situation in Syria. “Human rights violations are among the biggest obstacles to peace and development. If we turn to Syria we see that this is, tragically, a country where the conflict will soon enter the 11th year of continuous violence and brutal violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. A nationwide cease-fire is urgently needed, as well as unhindered humanitarian access to alleviate the human suffering in this country. Romania will continue to support the efforts of the UN, aimed at ending the conflict,” he said.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy also mentioned the situation in Ukraine saying that “in Eastern Ukraine, the negative impact of almost 7 years of conflict has been augmented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Not only do many people suffer from physical, political, social and economic isolation, but they remain unable to exercise basic rights, such as the freedom of movement, expression, religion, and peaceful assembly and association. Romania supports the activity of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, urging that it be granted full, free and unhindered access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including the illegally annexed Crimea,” said Aurescu, according to Agerpres.
Regarding the current situation in Myanmar, the minister said that Romania condemns the military coup d’etat there.
In his speech, Aurescu also welcomed the determination and resilience with which the Human Rights Council responded to the events and changes generated by the current pandemic, remaining a decisive player in defending human rights worldwide.
In 2020, the year of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the international community was faced with the urgent need of swift solutions to the unfolding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the head of Romanian diplomacy, the pandemic has demonstrated the major importance of human rights as a fundamental pillar of the world in which we live. Also, dignity and inalienable rights of every individual must be respected during the fight against the spread of the virus.
“For too many times, the spread of false information about COVID-19 inflicted real risks upon people, influencing their understanding of the pandemic and willingness to comply with needed measures. Fake news and misinformation are, unfortunately, more acutely present than ever in our societies. Thus, as representatives of states, we must find ways to engage more directly and closer with the citizens. It is time to acknowledge the need for digital democracy’ tools, strengthened by exchanges of good practices and lessons learned lately. We need better instruments to counter online misinformation, develop self-regulation functions in social media, and proactively promote accountability and transparency standards,” said Aurescu, pointing out that this is one of the priorities of the current Romanian Presidency of the Community of Democracies and it is looking forward to further contributing to these debates.
At the same time, Aurescu mentioned that one of the goals of sustainable development set out in the 2030 Agenda is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and exemplified the determination with which Romania works to achieve it.
In his speech, the minister specified that the first Romanian National Strategy for preventing and combating anti-Semitism, xenophobia, radicalisation and hate speech is soon to be approved by the Romanian government.
The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. Romania is running for a new term of office on the Human Rights Council for 2023-2025. Its previous terms lasted between 2006-2008, and 2011-2014, holding its chairmanship between June 2007 and June 2008.