UN Security Council briefing on Humanitarian Situation in Ukraine
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL BREIFING ON THE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY- HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN UKRAINE
At the outset, let me explain that Ghana voted in favor of the proposal to admit Ms. Daria Morozova under Rule 39 of the Council Provisional Rules of Procedure to provide the Council with her personal views, regarding the humanitarian situation in the Dombas region of Ukraine. As we have consistently done, we have supported the President’s choice of briefers and this in no way impairs our position on the Dombas region being a part of Ukraine. Indeed, it affirms Ukraine’s sovereignty. To be clear, Ghana does not recognize the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, including any person purporting to act in any official capacity on behalf of that entity. Ms. Morozova, as we understand it, is a resident of the Dombas region, and by extension a citizen of Ukraine. In that sense, we are of the view that her personal views as a citizen of Ukraine should be admitted by the Council.
Turning to the subject of our meeting, I would like to thank Under-SecretaryGeneral Mr. Martin Griffiths for the important updates provided to the Council on the prevailing humanitarian conditions in Ukraine. We continue to value his contributions to resolving this aspect of the war, bordering on the survival of the people of Ukraine. Ghana continues to be deeply concerned about the overall humanitarian situation and in particular, the plight of innocent civilians caught in the crossfires of intense combat raging across several cities in Ukraine. If the contestations in Bakhmut, Odesa, Donetsk, Kharkiv and other frontlines share anything in common, it is the fact that we see rising casualties and further destruction. The already impaled energy infrastructure of Ukraine continues to be pummeled with no regard for the needs of the civilians who rely on it for their survival, especially during this winter season.
While the destroyed infrastructure can be rebuilt, the destruction in the minds and hearts of the people, hidden from our eyes, is perhaps worse than we have imagined. They may never be restored from the deep loss and trauma of this brutal war. It is for this reason that, we remain supportive of initiatives to provide mental health care and counselling support for Ukrainians affected by the war, especially, children. UNICEF reports that despite the grueling impacts of the war on the 7.5 million children in Ukraine, they continue to show tremendous resilience for survival. We must do all that lies in our power to bring an end to the scourge of the war on their lives.
The report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine issued on 15th March, 2023, regrettably bears out our fears of widespread and systematic human rights violations, disregard for civilians and possible war crimes. We note the report as an important contribution to international efforts aimed at ensuring accountability for the horrendous crimes being committed in Ukraine. We further agree with the Commission that there is the need for further investigations and “comprehensive accountability, including, criminal responsibility of the perpetrators and the right of victims to truth, reparations and non-repetition”. At the core of the prohibition of the use of force as a means for the settlement of disputes is the value for human live and the essential obligation to protect and preserve humanity from the harms of war. International Humanitarian law is therefore, intended to impose on warring parties, obligations for the protection of civilians and even the treatment of prisoners of war during such
times. We deeply regret that these fundamental principles have not been obliged and more people continue to suffer needlessly with each passing day of the war.
In view of the worsening humanitarian conditions, we renew our appeal to the parties to ensure compliance with their obligations under international law, international humanitarian law and human rights laws. Civilians must be protected from harm and prisoners of war must be treated with respect in accordance with the measures prescribed under the Geneva Conventions and
Additional Protocols. The continuing missile attacks near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant resulting in the temporary loss of its only remaining back-up power line, point to the growing risk of a catastrophic nuclear incident. We remind the parties of the existential and inter-generational harm caused by nuclear arms and urge them to re-think their actions in the interest of humanity as we all stand at risk from any such incident, whether accidental or calculated. We urge the parties to treat nuclear safety and security as non-negotiable and to undertake the steps outlined by the International Atomic Energy Agency, including, the immediate demilitarization of all nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
After 13 months of sustained violent exchanges across all of Ukraine, there appears no to be hope of an end in sight and little appetite on the part of the warring parties for a peaceful settlement. We continue to be concerned about inflammatory rhetoric and the heightened risk of a wider geo-political conflict involving other European nations. If peace in Ukraine is to be attained, the parties, must relinquish any military logic to winning the war. We remain firmly of the view that dialogue and diplomacy offer the best chances of a comprehensive peace process that would address the respective concerns of the parties and reiterate our call for the intensification of international efforts for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine. It has been well asserted in this Council and the General Assembly that, peace in Ukraine must be founded on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and should seek to uphold the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine in accordance with international law.
We encourage agreement for the further renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative when it expires on 18th March, this year, as it once again offers a glimmer of hope through the dark facade of this war. We are encouraged by the commitments made by the parties given, the significant impact the deal has shown to have on the global food supply chain and market stability and we urge its full implementation in line with terms of agreement. We thank the Secretary-General for his visit to Kyiv on 8th March, 2023, where he held discussions with President Zelensky on the continuation of the Grain Initiative. The good faith implementation of all stakeholders is now crucial to sustain its integrity in a manner that assures its future extension for much longer periods of time. We also underline the importance and necessity of further efforts and cooperation in relation to the export of Russian ammonia and Agro products.
Humanitarian assistance and protection is vital to saving lives and mitigating the impacts on the people. As we all know, however, it does not replace the critical need for the cessation of all violent hostilities. It is for this reason and in the interest of the many suffering women, children and vulnerable persons that we re-echo the calls made to the Russian Federation to end the aggression against its neighbour Ukraine. It is time to end the war and begin the task of charting the path of peace between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
I thank you very much, Mr. President.