On Monday, 22 February, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès addressed the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva during its high-level segment. The Conference on Disarmament, of which Belgium is a permanent member, was established in 1979. To date, it is the only multilateral instrument dedicated to the negotiation of disarmament agreements. Disarmament and non-proliferation are crucial issues for international peace and security and as such constitute a priority for Belgium's foreign policy.
Today, February 22, the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council started in Geneva and will continue until March 23. On this occasion, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie addressed the ministerial part of the session. She presented the priorities of the Belgian government and shared some reflections on the current challenges in the field of human rights.
Today, February 22nd, in the context of the Belgian Presidency of the Benelux, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès invited the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms. Fatou Bensouda, and her fellow EU Foreign Ministers for an informal meeting with the 27 EU Ministers ahead of the monthly Foreign Affairs Council. Ms. Bensouda started her mandate as Prosecutor in 2012 and will finish it in June this year.
On the occasion of the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès reaffirms Belgium's commitment to improving the protection of children in armed conflict. The United Nations aims to improve the situation of these children by addressing the six most serious violations of children's rights: killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools or hospitals, denial of access to humanitarian aid and finally, the recruitment of child soldiers.
January 26, 2021 marks the centenary of our country's diplomatic relations with Estonia and Latvia, whose independence Belgium recognized in 1921. Belgium maintained this historic decision during the decades following the Second World War and stood by these countries when they regained their independence in 1991.