United Nations Security Council: Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine
I thank you, Mr. President, and the delegations of Mexico and France for convening this meeting of the Council and the timely discussion on the prevailing humanitarian situation in Ukraine with a focus on children and education.
I would like to join previous speakers in thanking Ms. Joyce Msuya, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, OCHA, and Mr. Omar Abdi, the Deputy Executive Director for Programmes, UNICEF for their respective briefings on the situation.
After several months of violent conflict in Ukraine and its resultant humanitarian crisis, Ghana is deeply concerned about the lack of satisfactory progress in finding a solution to the situation. It is indeed disheartening to note that innocent children have been caught up in the middle of this armed conflict and sadly, they would be the most adversely affected by the horrifying situation.
As the war continues to affect social institutions, education has, undeniably, been one of the major casualties, leading to severe disruptions in the education of children. My delegation takes note of a report by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science that one thousand, three hundred and ninety-seven (1,397) educational facilities across the country have been damaged and one hundred and two (102) destroyed by bombings and shelling as of 26th April, 2022.
In fact, the reported attacks on schools and other educational facilities across Ukraine, when verified may constitute gross violations of International Humanitarian Law, particularly against children. On this note, my delegation strongly condemns the bomb explosion of a school building in Luhansk, Eastern Ukraine, on 7th May, 2022, which resulted in significant civilian casualties and we wish to commiserate with the bereaved families and the people of Ukraine. Ghana reiterates its call on all parties to refrain from attacking civilian infrastructure, especially those whose destruction impact the lives of children.
Without the immediate cessation of hostilities, the 7.5 million children in Ukraine would continue to be endangered by the escalating armed conflict. It is very disheartening to see images of students forced to hide in basements and bomb shelters and children missing months of schooling, which will certainly impact their future negatively. The persisting impunity and highhandedness against children, schools and educational facilities in Ukraine must not only stop forthwith, but the perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions. In the meantime, Ghana is still hopeful that the war ends soon by peaceful and diplomatic means so that teachers and students can return to their normal routines.
In these difficult circumstances in Ukraine, the fact still remains that war is usually traumatic for children, especially when they are directly affected. The mental impact, especially on these children, is likely to have devastating consequences for several years to come. In this connection, humanitarian efforts should not only focus on the physical needs of the affected children in Ukraine but also on their psychological needs and emotional assistance as the damage of the war would result in long lasting psychological trauma. My delegation reiterates that the mental wellbeing and safety of the children in Ukraine should be our utmost concern and should remain at the forefront of action of the international community, including this Council.
At this juncture, we wish to commend the efforts of UNICEF and its partners in providing education-related supplies and appropriate learning opportunities for Ukrainian children in formal and informal setting. My delegation calls on host and transit countries to ensure that the best interest of children, including learning opportunities remain an essential element of their interventions. We believe that such interventions would minimise the enduring impact that the ongoing crisis will have in the lives of the children in Ukraine and their education.
In the spirit of UN resolution 2601 (2021), I would like to reaffirm Ghana’s commitment to UN endeavours to protect the children in Ukraine as well as its efforts aimed at ensuring uninterrupted education for the children.
We encourage the continued deployment of the good offices of the Secretary-General in the international endeavour to bring an end to the war and facilitate a diplomatic solution to the on-going security and humanitarian crises in Ukraine
In concluding, for the sake of the lives of the innocent children in Ukraine, we reiterate our call on the Russian Federation to heed the repeated calls of the international community to withdraw all its invading troops from the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine and pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy.
I thank you for your attention.