Виступ Постійного представника України при ООН Сергія Кислиці на відкритих дебатах РБ ООН щодо дітей та збройного конфлікту

Виступ Постійного представника України при ООН Сергія Кислиці на відкритих дебатах РБ ООН щодо дітей та збройного конфлікту

Mr. President,

At the outset, let me express my gratitude to the briefers, in particular to Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Ms. Virginia Gamba.

My delegation aligns itself with the statements by the European Union and by Canada on behalf of the Group of friends of CAAC, and would also like to make some points in our national capacity. The daunting reality faced by children in 21 countries and one regional situation in 2021 that is highlighted in the Secretary General’s annual report is alarming.

We commend the efforts of the CAAC team to engage with parties in a number of countries, including Nigeria, the Philippines, South Sudan, Somalia, the Sudan and Yemen, to protect children, which resulted in the release of 12,214 children from armed groups and armed forces.

At the same time, all the other statistics regarding grave violations against children in armed conflicts remain distressing. Let me also note that the current report does not cover the horrible consequences for children of russian aggression against Ukraine, so the true extent is even worse.

However, we welcome the Secretary-General’s decision in response to russia’s war against my country to add Ukraine as a situation of concern with immediate effect. All gross violations against children shall be a subject of daily monitoring by the entire UN system throughout the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and in accordance with the UNGA resolutions "Situation with human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine" (2016-2021), "Aggression against Ukraine" of March 2, 2022, and "Humanitarian consequences of aggression against Ukraine" of March 23, 2022.

Ukraine, as a party to core international instruments related to the protection of the rights of children, remains determined to have constructive dialogue and cooperation with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in order to stop and prevent violations against children affected by Russia’s war of aggression against my country.

The full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine has, since February, already affected 7 million children in Ukraine. Almost two out of every three children have been displaced by ru aggression. According to UNICEF, 3 million children inside Ukraine and over 2.2 million children in hosting countries are now in need of humanitarian assistance. At least 353 children have been killed and 666 have been injured. A significant number of those were severe injuries.

The unabated bombardment and shelling by the russian armed forces has damaged 2116 educational institutions, of which 216 were destroyed. In addition, more than 50 children's health-care facilities and more than 130 homes for orphans and children deprived of parental care have been damaged or destroyed.

Two days ago, residents of the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia gathered to say a final goodbye to 4-year-old Liza Dmitrieva. Many of you might have seen two different pieces of footage of this sunny girl, taken on Thursday within an hour of each other. The first shows a child full of life and walking joyfully along with her mother. The second was taken immediately following the russian missile strike on Vinnytsia city center. The strike that killed two dozen people, including Liza and two boys aged 7 and 8.

The heartbreaking images of Liza, lying next to her stroller, were shared by media worldwide and left millions of people shocked over the brutality and inhumanity of russia. These images will be used at a future tribunal against russian war criminals as her killers will be sitting in the dock.

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine documented 31 cases of use of schools and kindergartens for military purposes by the russian invaders. As of today, 317 children have been reported missing during hostilities. To date, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine is conducting 28 criminal proceedings on abductions and forced deportation of more than 5 thousand Ukrainian children to russia, Belarus and the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.

The real number is much higher, and the Ukrainian government continues tracking and collecting data to identify all the missing, abducted, and deported children. We repeat our call to the UN and the international community to closely monitor the situation and assist Ukraine to ensure the rapid and safe return of all the children that have been forcibly deported. Ensuring accountability for all grave violations against children as well as other war crimes and crimes against humanity is paramount. Ukraine, together with its partners, spares no efforts to bring all the perpetrators and their commanders to justice.

Thank you.