Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya at the 11th emergency special session of the UN General Assembly

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya at the 11th emergency special session of the UN General Assembly

Mr. President, distinguished delegates,

One early morning of April 1993 delegates to the United Nations had coffee, kissed their loved ones and went to the quiet and comfortable United Nations Headquarters to do business as usual. Perhaps as many of us have done this morning. The same morning in early April 1993 Boutros Boutros-Ghali sent a Special Rapporteur to report on extrajudicial, summary, arbitrary executions in Rwanda. He reported a more robust United Nations response was needed. Critically, it found that the abuses could be precursors to genocide.
Unfortunately, this report was largely ignored by an over-stretched Secretariat.

In early April 1994 in the comfort of the United Nations Headquarters the Security Council received letters in which the Rwandan Patriotic Front reminded member states that, “When the institution of the United Nations was created after the Second World War, one of its fundamental objectives was to see to it that what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany would never happen again.”

In 1994, Rwanda itself was a non-permanent member of the Security Council. This allowed the genocidal regime to influence other members’ view of the situation. As the Russia’s presence in the Security Council allows her to spread the lies almost daily. In April 2006 in the "docks" of New York by the Hudson River an ocean size state-of-the-art liner was launched. This magnificent liner was then docked on the shores of Lake Geneva. Beautiful as it is far from being an Ocean.

We named this liner the Human Rights Council. The adoption of Resolution 60/251 was a culmination of five months of consultations and negotiations facilitated by President of the Assembly Jan Eliasson and Ambassador Arias of Panama and Ambassador Kumalo of South Africa . Let me remind you the words of Mr. Jan Eliasson, the President of the sixtieth session of the UN General Assembly before the adoption of this resolution. He said and I quote:

“We have now reached a decisive moment, both for the promotion and protection of human rights and for effective multilateralism and the standing of the United Nations as a whole. As our leaders acknowledged in September 2005, the three pillars of the United Nations — development, peace and security, and human rights — are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.
Without strength in all, we have strength in none. The world has never needed a strong United Nations more than it needs one today. We therefore need a strong Human Rights Council, just as we need to achieve strong results …”. End of quote

Now the world has come to a critical juncture. We witness that our liner is going through treacherous fogs towards deadly icebergs. It might seem that we should have named it the Titanic instead of the Human Rights Council. If not, we need to take an action today – to save the HRC from sinking. The composition of the HRC is as diverse as the world map, as this Assembly is. But this Council unlike the Assembly has been established for a specific purpose to promote and protect human rights around the world. We are in a unique situation now when on the territory of another sovereign and independent state a member of the Human Rights Council commits horrific human rights violations and abuses that could be equated to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Bucha and dozens of other Ukrainian cities and villages, where thousands of peaceful residents have been killed, tortured, raped, abducted and robbed by the Russian Army, serve as an example of how dramatically far the Russian Federation has gone from its initial declarations in the human rights domain. That is why this case is unique and today’s response is obvious and self-explanatory. Let me quote –

“Our topmost priority is to ensure all human rights and freedoms in their entirety, including political and civil rights and decent socio-economic and environmental living standards. I believe that these questions are not an internal matter of states but rather their obligations under the U.N. Charter, the International Covenants and Conventions. We want to see this approach become a universal norm." end of quote -

It is hard to believe that the above quotation belongs to the President of the Russian Federation.
Another President, however, and other times.

It was said by President Yeltsin in 1992 in his statement at the UN Security Council. We can only regret that the democratic aspirations of the peoples of Russia in early 90s have by Putin’s regime been incrementally turned to their opposite – aggression, hatred and Soviet-style thinking and reflections, including in the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
And now we hear completely different statements here in the UN from the Russian Federation. This week we hear from the Russian Ambassador that there is a warfare in Ukraine and civilians are killed in war.

It is being said as matter of fact, in cold blood and as an absolutely normal course of action AKA “special operation”.
Shall we agree with the describing of killings as something normal? The only healthy answer should be No in order to contribute to the maintenance of the UN's health and the health of its human rights mechanism. All of you received the Russian diplomatic note yesterday in which our collective effort to preserve the credibility of the HRC was considered as an approach to preserve the “domination and total control in the World” and “human rights neocolonial policy in international affairs”.

We have heard many times the same perverted logic of the aggressor attempting to present itself as a victim, while in fact doing exactly what it cries against in its note – killing citizens of a neighboring country trying dominate it if not colonize it. In reply to that, we call on Russia when its rights of membership in the Human Rights Council are suspended to return to responsible behavior by implementing the decisions of this Assembly and HRC. If Russia expulses itself from the Council, it would be its own choice and there will be no need to blame others.

Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council is not an option but a duty and let me quote how this duty is formulated in OP8 of Resolution60/251 “the General Assembly … may suspend the rights of membership in the Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights”.
We view voting to suspend a state’s HRC rights as a rare and extraordinary action. However, Russia’s actions are beyond the pale — Russia is not only committing human rights violations, it is shaking the underpinnings of international peace and security. A draft resolution on the matter under A/ES-11/L.4 is a result of the collective efforts of a cross-regional group of two dozen States that represent all regions. It has been co-sponsored so far by more than 50 UN Member States.

I call upon all responsible Member States to support the draft! Let me now once again refer to the commemoration of the one of the darkest pages in recent history – the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

On this day of grievances and bearing its own tragedy of thousands of Ukrainians killed by the Russian invaders Ukraine stands together with Rwanda and calls to reaffirm our pledge to never forget and to never allow the recurrence of genocide, which was a result of the international community’s indifference.

To those who for this or another reason opts today to keep being a bystander, to abstain, let me quote Elie Wiesel addressing President Clinton in 1999 talking about ‘The Perils of Indifference.’
“Indifference elicits no response.
Indifference is not a response.
Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end.

And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor — never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees — not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory.
And in denying their humanity, we betray our own.” end of quote. The genocide in Rwanda was largely due to the indifference of the world’s community, when the UN did not respond to warnings in the UN SC and GA a year before the tragedy. Today, in the case of Ukraine, it is not even a year, because the tragedy is unfolding right now before our eyes.

In a couple of minutes you will have a chance to prove that you are not an indifferent bystander. All you need to do is to press the YES button, and to save the Human Rights Council and many lives around the world and in Ukraine.

On the other hand, pressing NO means pulling a trigger, and means a red dot on the screen. Red as the blood of the innocent lives lost.
This image will stay with you and and all of us as long as memory does not fail us. Think about it.

Thank you