Let me first thank USG DiCarlo, ASG Kehris and civil society representative Oleksandra Drik for their briefings.
There can be no doubt about the significant, tragic, humanitarian consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Russia’s illegal invasion violates the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, and the legal norms of the world order. Russia must withdraw its troops and this war must stop.
The number of civilian casualties amassed is alarming and unacceptable. As we have heard, over 7 million have crossed the border fleeing Russia’s gruelling war, seeking protection in neighbouring and other countries. Roughly the same number are internally displaced in Ukraine. Behind these numbers are real people - families, children, and persons with disabilities. They all need protection, health services and education.
The restoration of family links is of the utmost importance. And we must prevent and combat human trafficking and other abuses of those in dire need of protection and assistance.
All parties have an obligation to protect civilians, and to safeguard and ensure their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Russia’s warfare in urban and populated areas, and the use of heavy explosive weapons, is destroying homes, schools, and hospitals. It is important that we support Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts so that the many millions of forcibly displaced persons one day can return to their homes in Ukraine. And humanitarian and development actors must be engaged in this important work.
We are deeply worried about the reports of forcible transfer of civilians to Russia and territory occupied by Russia, and of filtration facilities run by Russia. We are alarmed by reports that civilians appear to be arbitrarily deprived of their liberty at such facilities. And there is a growing body of independent information indicating serious human rights violations and abuses against civilian detainees and prisoners of war at these sites.
These reports emphasise the importance of all parties engaging in identifying and recovering missing persons. And appropriate humanitarian actors must be given unhindered access to all places of detention in accordance with international humanitarian law.
We welcome the update today on the fact-finding mission established by the Secretary-General pursuant to the incident of 29 July at the detention facility near the village of Olenivka. The mission must be allowed to conduct its important work.
We also recall that all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition of an occupied territory are prohibited according to international humanitarian law, and may constitute war crimes. We reiterate our demand that civilians must be protected, and international humanitarian law and international human rights law fully respected and implemented.
Civilians forcibly transferred who wish to return, must be allowed to do so.
Humanitarian actors must be ensured access to the many in need, and they must be protected against attacks. Norway condemns the recent attacks on the base of the Ukrainian Red Cross in Sloviansk.
Russia’s war against Ukraine also has global consequences, with surging fuel and energy prices, and increasing food insecurity. We commend the Secretary-General for his tireless efforts to promote dialogue and negotiations between the parties.
The most effective way to ease the devastating humanitarian impact of this war, is to stop it. Russia chose to start this war, Russia can also choose to stop it.