On 24 June 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in a side event on the media situation in Belarus co-sponsored by several United Nations member states, including Latvia, during the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
In his remarks, the Minister reminded the audience that the UN Member States have a shared responsibility to stand up for the rights of media and journalists in Belarus. Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that at this point focus must be placed on very practical support for Belarusian journalists and members of the media inside and outside the country. The Foreign Minister confirmed that Latvia has already been providing support to Belarusian independent journalists and people working with the media and news organisations through rehabilitation services and psychological counselling.
The Latvian Foreign Minister underlined that the hijacking of a Ryanair flight and forcing it to land in Minsk on 23 May is a blatant attack by Lukashenko’s regime on the media and freedom of expression. Edgars Rinkēvičs repeated the call on Belarusian authorities to immediately release Raman Pratasevich and other journalists and political prisoners.
The Minister noted that it is important to continue to urge the Belarusian authorities to implement recommendations of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism. Edgars Rinkēvičs stressed that, as a UN member state, Belarus has an obligation to respect fulfil its international obligations and commitments and protect the rights of its own citizens.