Виступ Постійного представника України при ООН Сергія Кислиці на засіданні Ради Безпеки ООН у рамках пункту порядку денного "Загрози міжнародному миру та безпеці"

Виступ Постійного представника України при ООН Сергія Кислиці на засіданні Ради Безпеки ООН у рамках пункту порядку денного "Загрози міжнародному миру та безпеці"

Mr. President, distinguished members of the Security Council, Assistant Secretary-General Brands Kehris,

I also recognize here the representative of russia in the permanent seat of the Soviet Union.

There is a place in Westminster, London. It’s called the Church House. Today The Church House is the home of the headquarters of the Church of England. The building’s Assembly Hall was directly hit during the Blitz and yet suffered little damage. The Blitz, let me recall, was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom in 1940 and 1941 during the Second World War.

Casualties and losses: more than 40,000 civilians killed, and tens and tens and tens of thousands injured. Two million houses damaged or destroyed (60 percent of these in London). Sounds almost like the picture of what Russia is doing in Ukraine today. You may ask me why I mention the Church House? Not because we speak about the religion today, but because the very first meeting of the Security Council took place in the Church House, Westminster, London.

Should russia be a peaceful nation and should russianot bomb Ukraine today as nazi Germany bombed the United Kingdom then, it would be exactly today that we would be celebrating the 77-th anniversary of the first ever meeting of the Security Council that took place on January 17, 1946. Unfortunately, we are not here to celebrate this important anniversary.

Unfortunately, we are here because of the nonsense that the russian federation made us listen to. But we use the taxpayers’ money and it is our duty to make sense of this nonsense or rather to make use of this nonsense.

Freedom of religion is human rights. It is article 18 of the Declaration of Human Rights, among other important documents. And no matter what nonsense the russian federations says today in this Chamber, this discussion is about human rights.

Ukraine, along with many other democratic nations, has repeatedly underlined that human rights issues should be an indispensable element of the Security Council’s agenda. In this regard raising a human rights’ topic, though in a manipulative way, at the Council’s meeting could have meant a fundamental shift in the russian position on the matter.

It does not, however, as we have got too much evidence of russia’s lies, manipulations and inconsistencies. In fact, there’s no better proof of manipulation than today’s speech by the russianfederation.

Let me recall what I said in this very Chamber on 18 April 2017, when the members of the Security Council assembled to discuss the role and place of human rights in the Council’s agenda.

[I quote] “In the 1970s, human rights issues were removed from the agenda of New York and transferred to nice, cozy, sleepy Geneva. It was not only a physical move but, it appears, an ideological divorce of United Nations Headquarters from something that was then perceived as irreconcilably different from the security agenda of New York. It is time to reconcile these differences and to restore the integrity of the entire United Nations system as designed by its founders.

The Council has no right to repeat its failures in Rwanda, to continue to fail in Syria, or to remain paralysed by the Russian position in the case of Crimea and Donbas…”

And I concluded by stressing how inspired we were by Secretary-General Guterres’s vision and the approaches he had outlined to the issues suggested for discussion in that meeting. We sincerely believed that the Secretary-General could skillfully manage all of the tools given him by the United Nations Charter and that he would not hesitate to use them whenever necessary to achieve the implementation of the Charter’s goals and objectives.

Let me also recall what the Secretary-General said on that day in the Chamber.

[I quote] “Systematic monitoring and reporting of human rights violations has given a voice to victims and advanced the fight against impunity. Moreover, these efforts offer important warning signals to societies that also highlight the Council’s determination to prevent further abuses. To advance this work, I encourage close cooperation with my Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide…

The Council has also taken decisive action to prosecute alleged perpetrators of the most brutal crimes by establishing the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere, and by referring cases to the International Criminal Court. Accountability for such crimes is an important element in achieving reconciliation, and over the longer term building resilient societies and judicial institutions.” [End of quote]

Finally, what was the then position taken by the delegation that summoned us today to listen to its laments over one of the fundamental rights – the right to freedom of religion or belief. However, the real purpose of this meeting is completely different – to protect a religious institution which has been part and parcel of the Russian ideological and propaganda machine.

The russian statement at the Security Council’s meeting on that April day in 2017 was pretty clear and straightforward.

[I quote] “The Security Council is not intended to fulfill the tasks of ensuring the observance of human rights and is not adapted to a substantive analysis of the situation in this sphere. It is an organ with unique powers to make decisions, including those providing for the use of force in situations that pose a threat to peace, a breach of peace or an act of aggression. Under this mandate, the Council cannot serve as a forum for discussions about human rights situations, wherever they may be.

No international human rights instrument provides for the imposition of any oversight or other functions by the Security Council in this field. We cannot agree with the assertion made in the concept note prepared for the meeting, according to which violations of human rights should be considered as an issue related to the primary responsibility of the Security Council for maintaining international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter…

We do not share the approach of considering human rights violations as the main precondition for armed conflict or human rights protection as a key instrument for preventing them or as a panacea. Practice demonstrates otherwise. The goal of conflict prevention is completely contrary to interfering in the domestic affairs of countries and undermining their sovereignty, often under the pretext of protecting human rights” [End of quote].

Distinguished colleagues,

If the russian federation were interested in discussing the issue of human rights, and freedom of religion in the Security Council, perhaps it would be the time to return human rights to the Council’s agenda and thoroughly address the Secretary-General’s reports on the human rights situation in the occupied Crimea, Ukraine and the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, established by the UN Human Rights Council.

Perhaps, it would also be useful to invite the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to brief the Council on his recent visit to Ukraine, as well as the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, operating in my country at the invitation of the Government of Ukraine for almost nine years. In particular, the Council could receive an update on russian war crimes, based on the recent thematic report of the Office of High Commissioner “Killings of civilians: summary executions and attacks on individual civilians in Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions in the context of the Russian Federation’s armed attack against Ukraine”.

The human rights-related discussions in this Chamber would also benefit from the presence of the representatives of the human rights conventional mechanisms under the Council of Europe, one of the most important human rights watchdogs in the European continent, as well from briefings by the European Court of Human Rights on consideration of applications against Russia.

The delegation of Ukraine would strongly support such a development. We propose to organize a special meeting of the Security Council to address the implication of the russian war of aggression on the human rights situation in Ukraine.

Mr. President,

It is a matter of regret that the representative of putin’s regime is still capable of misusing the permanent seat of the defunct country and making the Council listen to its disinformation narratives. Russia still attempts to divert the attention of this organ from the real security threats stemming from its aggression, and to create a smokescreen, hiding its crimes behind tons of fakes.

We have already heard the insane statements about war mosquitos, Ukrainian dirty bombs and chemical weapons, secret labs etc. Today the russianrepresentative has gone even further. It is a real mockery of the Council when an accomplice of crimes against humanity dresses up in the mantel of preacher and explains to the Security Council which denomination in Ukraine should be recognized as a canonical institution and which should be labeled a heretical one.

We have just heard the briefer invited by the russiandelegation who claimed to speak as a representative of one of the Orthodox churches. It contradicts the official comment made by this church today “on the intention by the russian federation to raise in the UN an issue of the situation with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”.

As follows from this comment, [I quote] “the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has not appealed to any state for assistance in protecting its rights, moreover to the state that has perpetrated a treacherous armed attack on our country. Also, we have not authorized anyone from the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to speak on our behalf in the United Nations. We are concerned that the issue of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is being raised by the structures that have no relation to us. We call on the authorities of Russia not to speak on behalf of our Church on international platforms and not to use the religious factor for their own political purposes.” [End of quote]

Distinguished colleagues,

Today a number of religious leaders of Ukraine, representing Orthodox, Greek and Roman Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical churches as well as Muslim religious unions, have issued an address to you that I would also like to bring to your attention.

[I qoute]

“We, representatives of religious organizations of Ukraine, appeal to you on behalf of millions of our faithful who, under Russian missiles and shells, pray, work and protect the most valuable gift of God - life on our land, people's rights and their dignity.

The war has brought enormous suffering to these people, with the people's freedom, their religious beliefs having effectively become the initial target of the Russian occupiers. In eleven months, they destroyed or ransacked more than 270 churches and sacred buildings, killed and tortured to death dozens of clergymen. Wherever Russia comes, religious freedom ends. Where Russia is, they torture "wrong" Orthodox Christians, mock Catholics, imprison Muslims for religious beliefs for the terms unthinkable even in Soviet times, force Protestants to flee abroad from inevitable repressions, and persecute Jehovah's Witnesses.

That is why our faithful are fighting at the front, among other things, to ensure that Ukraine continues to be a country where not a single house of worship has been closed in the entire history of its independent existence, where everyone has the right to believe in what he or she considers worthy of belief, where religious minorities feel as comfortable as the Churches that unite millions of believers. Where, after all, religiously persecuted people from many countries have always found refuge, and Ukraine's achievements in the field of freedom of conscience are recognized all over the world.

We take this opportunity to appeal to the international community to hear our call: the most that peoples can do for the sake of establishing freedom of conscience in Ukraine is to help Ukrainians resist the Russian invasion, which brings death, slavery, darkness and religious oppression.

Signed by: His Beatitude Epiphanius - Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine,

His Beatitude Sviatoslav - Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Supreme Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych,

Valerii Antoniuk - Head of the All-Ukrainian Union of the Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists,

Ayder Rustemov - Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Crimea,

Murat Suleymanov - Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine "Ummah,"

Vitalii Kryvytskyi - Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine,

Stanislav Nosov - President of the Ukrainian Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine

Yaakov Dov Bleich - Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine, President of the Union of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine” [End of quote]

Distinguished colleagues,

The deadly nature of the Kremlin regime was again manifested last Saturday with a new portion of russian missiles launched to kill Ukrainians and to destroy our critical infrastructure. Despite the important Orthodox holiday, by the way, that many Ukrainians marked that day.

The most horrendous part of this strike – against a multi-story residential building in Dnipro – killed at least 45 people, including six children, and wounded 79. We applaud the courage and commitment of the professional rescue teams and numerous volunteers, who worked on site 24/7 to save everyone still alive under the debris.

You might see the heart-breaking pictures of a young female victim, Kateryna, who was saved after 20 hours under the rubble in freezing cold temperatures. As revealed by her relatives, she was not even able to cry out for help because she has been deaf since her childhood. We kept a little hope at the moment of her rescue that her husband and 1-year-old son could also be found alive. Unfortunately, the russian missile left no place for a miracle.

According to the Ukrainian Air Force, it was a Kh-22 missile (AS-4 KITCHEN by NATO classification) fired from a Tu-22M3 long-range bomber. This type of powerful missile with a 950-kg warhead was designed to hit aircraft carrier groups at sea. They are less accurate than most modern missiles and their use against densely populated residential areas is a clear war crime.

A missile of the same type was used by the russian army to strike the city of Kremenchuk on 27 June 2022. Hitting the shopping mall, it killed at least 20 people.

Unfortunately, so far Ukraine does not have in its possession any means capable of shooting down this type of missiles.

It speaks volumes that today, on the second day of mourning in Dnipro putin has submitted a draft to the russian parliament to denounce a number of European conventions, including the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as well as the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Indeed, if you have opted for being a terrorist that kills innocent people in their homes, why should you care about maintaining any link, even a symbolic one, to international democratic instruments.

Distinguished colleagues,

I would like to thank all of you who expressed your sympathy for the victims of the deadly russian attack in Dnipro and pointed out the need to use the Security Council for addressing real threats to regional and international peace and security. Threats that take the lives of innocent people, every day and night, across the whole of Ukraine.

Their human rights, starting the with right to life, must be protected. In this regard I reiterate the call to return to the practice of discussion of human rights issues in the Security Council and to organize in the coming months if not weeks a full-fledged Council meeting to address the implications of the russian war of aggression on the human rights situation in Ukraine.

I thank you.

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