I join others in thanking briefers for their sobering presentations.
Three weeks ago, Russia launched its military aggression and invaded Ukraine. And since the start of the war, a Ukrainian child has become a refugee almost every second. Over three million civilians have crossed the borders into neighbouring countries seeking protection. And over 2 million people are displaced inside Ukraine. They are fleeing from the horrors of Russia’s unjust and illegal war against Ukraine. From the destructive power of one of the world’s biggest war machines. From Russia’s shelling of homes, schools, and hospitals. From Russia’s indiscriminate use of explosive weapons. And their deplorable use of cluster bombs. Weapons that destroy cities. Killing civilians, even while they are fleeing or hiding.
The human suffering is unacceptable.
We encourage countries to keep their borders open to all those seeking safety outside Ukraine, without discrimination. And we commend the generosity of the neighbouring countries and their solidarity with those fleeing the war.
Many of those fleeing are in a vulnerable situation, as we heard from Dr Tedros. At risk of sexual and gender-based violence, trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Traumatized children and adults in need of mental and psycho-social support. We encourage the humanitarian organizations to give priority to these issues in their response.
Civilians must be protected at all times. And humanitarian and medical workers must also be protected and allowed safe, rapid, and unhindered access to people in need.
The protection of civilians and humanitarian access are not a matter of choice. They are legal obligations under international humanitarian law. Obligations which must be respected. And those responsible for violations must be held accountable.
Russia’s war is causing despair and suffering with global implications. Russia is responsible for the increased food prices and higher risk of food-insecurity, that many countries now face. Russia’s war against Ukraine will further exacerbate humanitarian crises, death, and disasters for people across continents.
Russia, and Russia alone, bears the sole responsibility for the war, and humanitarian crisis.
Russia must stop its military aggression against Ukraine. Russia must comply with the order by the International Court of Justice to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine.
If Russia cares about the humanitarian suffering this war is causing, then Russia should stop its senseless and illegal war.
The Russian draft resolution has no credibility. It will not stop the war and the suffering.
We echo the call of the Secretary-General: That political dialogue, negotiations, and mediation are the only way forward.
We need to see genuine talks that translate into concrete results on the ground. And they must be inclusive. We need to see women included meaningfully in all talks, negotiations, and mediation efforts.
For the sake of humanity; this war must stop.