Statement of the Delegation of Ukraine in the United Nations General Assembly on the report of the Human Rights Council (item 69)

Statement of the Delegation of Ukraine in the United Nations General Assembly on the report of the Human Rights Council (item 69)

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Mr. President,

We continue to believe that one of the main responsibilities of the Human Rights Council is to react in a timely and appropriate manner to human rights situations that require its urgent attention. We are pleased to acknowledge that during the reporting period the Council in the remaining realities of COVID-19 demonstrated its ability to respond to the emergency situations in the field of human rights.

I would like to express my delegation’s sincere appreciation to the President of the Council, distinguished Ambassador of Fiji H.E. Ms. Nazhat Khan, to praise her experience and devotion, her able and effective management of the HRC’ activities against the backdrop of continuing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our colleagues in Geneva made a right choice having voted for Ambassador Khan candidature to this post.

In our view, the extraordinary modalities of this year HRC sessions were applied rather successful. Moreover, thanks to virtual format, a number of dignitaries were able to participate in the High-Level Segment.

At the same time, we witnessed attempts to use COVID-19 crises to divert the attention of the Council from the human rights violations being committed by states, including in the occupied territories in the heart of Europe. Dire humanitarian situation caused by the spread of COVID-19 must not be exploited to escape international legal responsibility.

During 46-48th HRC sessions representatives of the occupying Power in Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol delivered their statements on behalf of the delegation of the Russian Federation claiming to represent people of Crimea.

In this regard, I wish to once again recall the UN General Assembly resolution 68/262, which calls «upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration to the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status». Considering the substance of this provision, it is apparent that the consistent efforts by the Russian Federation to push through participation of representatives of Crimea's occupation authorities in the proceedings of the Council as part of its delegation are directed towards exploiting the Human Rights Council as a diplomatic tool in its ongoing aggression against Ukraine.

We strongly believe that the provisions of the UNGA resolutions in relation to the status of Crimea and representatives of the Russian occupation administration have to be strictly adhered to in the work of the Council. Mr. President Ukraine was among the countries that enthusiastically supported the establishment of the Human Rights Council. Regrettably, recent years demonstrated that adherence to the high standards in human rights protection is not always a prerequisite for countries to be elected to the Council thus harming its credibility. Such attitude can only weaken the Human Right Council, making it indulgent to human rights violators. HRC members are supposed to demonstrate their commitment to the highest standards of human rights, including their full cooperation with all UN mechanisms as set forth in UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251.

In this regard we welcome the return of the United States to the Council, which should bring more democracy to this central human rights body. Being a member of the HRC till 2023, Ukraine exerts every effort to ensure that the UN Human Rights Council fulfils its mandate responsibly and effectively, and will keep working with partners to further promote and protect human rights globally. We will strive to increase transparency in the work of the Council which this body is sometimes lacking.

Amid tremendous challenges, it is extremely important to ensure that the Human Rights Council is actively engaged in multilateral endeavours to defend, promote and protect human rights globally, prevent their abuses and enhance the international community’s response to emerging threats to human security and human rights. Ukraine needs a Council that can become a genuine, uncompromising platform for defending human rights, including of those, who suffer under Russian occupation in Crimea and Donbas, who have become political hostages deprived of their freedom by the Kremlin regime.

The Government of Ukraine will continue to take further measures to ensure the proper protection of the rights and freedoms of all persons living in the whole territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

Ukraine continues also to pay special attention to the issue of technical assistance. We appreciate the contribution of the UN Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures in addressing the current human rights situation in Ukraine, including in occupied Crimea. The resolutions on cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights, adopted since the beginning of the Russian aggression in 2014, and interactive dialogues on Ukraine at each session of the HRC as well as in its inter-sessional period are important tools to provide the international community with objective information about real human rights situation in Ukraine.

The comprehensive and timely Reports by the Secretary-General, entitled “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine” submitted to the Human Rights Council in June this year and to the current General Assembly session in September pursuant to resolution 75/192, represent a valuable account of numerous violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law committed by the occupying Power in the Ukrainian peninsula. HRC and General Assembly should continue to work in tandem to address pressing issue of the gross human rights violations by the Russian aggressor on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.

It is also important that the reports and recommendations contained therein should be respected and duly implemented. Therefore, Ukraine presented a substantially improved draft resolution on human rights in Crimea based on the SG’s Reports to be issued as document A/C.3/76/L.29. We would appreciate support and co-sponsorship of Member States and looking forward for its consideration in the Third Committee later this month.

Thank you, Mr. President.