United Nations Security Council Meeting: Maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine
1. At the outset, let me thank Ms. Nderitu, the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide for her briefing to the Council. Incitement to violence is a major concern as it invariably leads to atrocity crimes. In the case of the war in Ukraine, it is important that we remain alert to such risks before the nature of the conflict becomes even more horrible than we are presently
dealing with. We also thank the CSO briefers for their contributions to the Council’s discussions on this subject. While reiterating our deep concerns over the protraction of the war in Ukraine and the needless loss of lives and the destruction of livelihoods and properties, Ghana is equally alarmed by the acerbic rhetoric and narratives and that have accompanied segments of the war in Ukraine. No country or leader can claim to be unaware of the dangers of unrestrained words spoken in anger or with hatred. Throughout history, including during the second World War, in Rwanda in April 1994, in Srebrenica in July1995 or in other parts of the world such as Myanmar for instance, we have often witnessed the calamitous and tragic consequences of deliberate actions that incite one group of people against another.
Indeed, such actions, borne out of a false feeling of superiority by one group over others has been the bane of our common humanity throughout the ages. Whether during the era of slavery, colonialism, or apartheid this has been the main propeller that evil men have used to manipulate their kind to commit atrocity against others. The Council must, therefore, in the pursuit of its fundamental responsibility to promote and maintain international peace and security, remain vigilant to incitement, and hate speech which have the tendency to instigate or intensify the commission of atrocity crimes. We must act in unison to uphold our promise of “Never Again” to people everywhere and most pressingly, to the people of Ukraine.
The killing of tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol and in several other cities, the emerging evidence of mass graves, and of systemic and gross violations of human rights in Ukraine, including gender-based sexual violence against women and girls, are intolerable acts that should point us in the direction of serious action to prevent further atrocity and to seek accountability for atrocity crimes that are being committed. It is in this regard, that Ghana expresses her support for the conduct of independent and impartial investigations to gather evidence and establish a basis for ensuring accountability for any atrocious acts established to have been committed in Ukraine under the guise of the war. Accountability is a critical element of deterrence and the universal jurisdiction of almost all atrocity crimes means that none can escape justice, regardless of what may appear to be a limitation of institutions of international justice.
We are concerned by the intensified fighting in Severodonestsk which poses a humanitarian threat as more civilians come under the barrage of crossfires and are forced to flee their homes or to shelter in bunkers with limited access to food, clean water and basic needs. We re-iterate the fundamental importance of the warring sides to conduct themselves in accordance with the
requirements of international law and international humanitarian law as it relates to the treatment of civilians and urge them to take due steps for the protection of civilians, humanitarian aid workers and civilian infrastructure. We continue to call for the creation of and respect for humanitarian corridors for the safe passage of civilians escaping from the cities under siege as well as for the delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance. The need for a peaceful resolution is urgent and can only be attained through the path of dialogue and diplomacy.
We urge in this regard, greater efforts on the part of the global community and regional partners in support of the resumption of talks between the parties which have stalled since March. Ending the war now is crucial to preserve the lives of the Ukrainian people, but also, to ameliorate the remote ramifications which have visited economic hardships in othernparts of the world away from the theatre of war.
In closing, we believe that nothing justifies the commission of atrocities and in that vein, we strongly urge the tempering of rhetoric and hateful narratives that stoke an atmosphere of
deep resentment and instigate the commission of violent acts against others. Ghana reaffirms her support for the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and expresses her commitment to working with all others to find an early end to the war and the restoration of peace and stability in Ukraine.
I thank you for your kind attention.