I’d like to thank the briefers for their important statements.
Norway condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine - a blatant violation of the UN Charter. Russia must stop the war and withdraw its troops immediately.
We reiterate our demand that civilians must be protected, and international humanitarian law fully respected and implemented.
We are appalled by the forced deportations of Ukrainian citizens - including children - to Russia, Russian-controlled territories, and Belarus. We call for the restoration of family links; the immediate release of Ukrainian citizens; and their relocation to safety in government-held areas of Ukraine.
The war has a gendered impact – it affects women and men; girls and boys; and members of the LGBTI community differently.
Let me highlight 3 issues in this regard:
First, attacks on healthcare institutions and staff, are denying people - including women who are pregnant or in labour - safe access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Second, the high number of survivor accounts of rape and other forms of sexual and gender‑based violence. Children will be born of war. Their rights and wellbeing - and that of their mothers - must be ensured.
And third, the high risk of trafficking, as displaced people seek safety across borders.
These violations and risks must be addressed.
In response, Norway has increased our support to UNFPA, and other humanitarian actors that provide sexual and reproductive health services.
We underline the importance of gender and age differentiated responses to meet the needs of the civilian population - including Ukrainian IDPs and refugees. This must include access to mental health and psychosocial support; and sexual and reproductive health services for all – regardless of the gender indicated in their passport.
Also, unaccompanied Ukrainian children are in a particularly vulnerable situation. Child protection services must be ensured.
But first and foremost, we must take steps to prevent sexual and gender-based violence, including trafficking, from happening. And we welcome the agreed ‘Framework for cooperation between Ukraine and the UN’ on the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence. Engaging and supporting women human rights defenders and civil society in our responses is key.
We insist on a survivor centred approach. It is vital for survivors, their communities, and Ukraine as a whole to be able to overcome the trauma and stigma that has been brought on them by this war, and to move forward together.
Atrocities must be investigated, and those responsible held accountable. We support therefore, the ongoing investigations, including the work of the ICC and Commission of Inquiry for Ukraine. Expertise on conflict related sexual violence, gender, and children’s rights are crucial in these processes.
And we underline the critical importance of strong and independent human rights institutions and accountability mechanisms in Ukraine.
There must be zero tolerance for sexual and gender-based violence and trafficking. And no impunity for perpetrators. Accountability is vital to ensure justice for the survivors, and prevent future sexual and gender-based violations everywhere.