Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine
Statement21 June 2022
Thank you very much, Mr President.
And I want to thank also our excellent briefers this morning for their very insightful contributions.
History has taught us, repeatedly, that atrocity crimes do not occur in a vacuum. A rise in language that marginalises and targets people on the basis of their identity, race, religion, ethnicity, or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or other status is one of the first warning signs of violence.
Incendiary language lamenting, glorifying or whitewashing the past, threatening consequences against those who see things differently, harks back to darker times in our history.
Seeking to rectify perceived grievances by resorting to military action against another state, to annex part of its territory has absolutely no place in the twenty-first century.
This is why we call on the Russian Federation to stop its efforts to establish occupying authorities, to stop attempts to change the functioning of the Ukrainian State, undermining its democratic foundations. Such steps are yet further deplorable violations of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We recall the importance of avoiding propaganda, hate speech and intentionally divisive language. Difference does not cause conflict: rather it is the stoking of divisions for political purposes that is the real driver of conflict.
Russian accusations of genocide against Ukraine were, and are, utterly false, just as attempting to depict Ukraine as an existential threat to Russia has no foundation. These false claims cannot be used to justify the so-called “pre-emptive strike back” Russia launched against Ukraine.
We know today is the 118th day of Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine. Ukraine’s cities continue to be pummelled by Russia’s Armed Forces. Ordinary Ukrainians continue to suffer; ordinary Ukrainians continue to die for no reason.
The loss of life, damage to critical infrastructure, trade disruption and outflow of refugees is having a devastating impact on Ukraine’s economy, further impoverishing the Ukrainian people.
We want to underline here that attacks directed against civilians and civilian objects, indiscriminate attacks and disproportionate attacks, are all prohibited under international humanitarian law.
The OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism’s mission of experts have reported a clear pattern of violations of international humanitarian law by Russia.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that Russia has not merely ignored international humanitarian law, but has tossed it aside; and she expressed shock at the scale of the destruction and the numerous violations of international human rights law.
The ICC investigation will prove important in ensuring accountability for any international crimes committed in Ukraine.
So once again, we call for compliance with international humanitarian law, including the obligation to attack only military objectives and the obligation to take all feasible precautions in attack.
At this table, we have repeatedly called for an end to the war against Ukraine, for the Russian Federation to withdraw its forces and to engage in true dialogue and diplomacy towards peace.
I’ll said it again: it is never too late to do the right thing. However, while armed conflict continues, Russia must comply with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law. We won’t get tired of making that call – the people of Ukraine deserve no less from us.