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The delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) is on a working visit in Switzerland to learn about the activities of international organisations, and to discuss the principles of distribution of development aid and humanitarian aid as well as the regulation of trade relations between countries.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson said that Estonia was a member of many international organisations and contributed financially to their work. According to Mihkelson, the aim of the visit is to get an overview of the activities of international organisations and the challenges faced by them.

“In today’s world, where Estonia as a small country reiterates the importance of a rules-based world order, the international organisations that transcend the nation states have an essential and decisive role,” Mihkelson said. Besides Marko Mihkelson, who is the head of the delegation, the delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee also includes Deputy Chair of the Committee Keit Pentus-Rosimannus and member of the Committee Barbi Pilvre.

In Geneva, they will meet with Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) Michael Møller, who organises and coordinates the communication between several agencies and bodies of the UN and the missions of the member states. The Syrian crisis, impartial and independent investigation of the use of chemical weapons, and prosecution of the persons who have committed crimes against humanity will be discussed as topics of importance.

The meeting with the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will focus on their activities in Ukraine. Ukraine has been one of the priorities of the development cooperation of Estonia for more than a decade. After the Maidan events, the Estonian assistance to Ukraine has amounted to 6.7 million euro. Estonia plans to spend altogether 2.2 million euro to assist Ukraine this year and next year.

The situation of human rights both in Ukraine and in Syria is the topic of the meeting at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will also focus on operations in Ukraine and Syria, but global trends relating to migration will be spoken about as well. Today, there are around 65.5 million people in the world who have been forced to leave their home for different reasons; 22.5 million of them are refugees. The greatest number of refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.

Besides development aid and humanitarian aid, the issues connected with foreign trade will also be discussed. At the meeting with the representatives of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it will be discussed how to regulate and simplify global trade relations, and how to avoid trade discrimination.

Estonia’s experience in the successful implementation of the e-governance solutions will be spoken about at the meeting with Director of the Division of Programmes of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Kareen Jabre.  

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
Phone: +372 631 6356, +372 51 53 903
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