Human Rights Council 49th session: Statement on urgent debate Ukraine - PR UN, WTO and other organisations Geneva

Human Rights Council 49th Session: Statement on urgent debate Ukraine  | 03-03-2022

Delivered by H.E. Paul Bekkers, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Thank you Mr President,

The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the EU statement.

The reports and images of Russia’s unprecedented and unlawful armed attack on Ukraine are horrific. Innocent people are dying, many more are wounded, hundreds of thousands are leaving their homes behind in search of safety. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and we call on Russia to immediately cease the hostilities, withdraw its military from Ukraine and fully respect Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.  

The armed attack on Ukraine is also an attack on the United Nations Charter, by a member of this Council. We strongly condemn this unprovoked act of war by Russia against a sovereign country. For the Netherlands it is crystal clear: Russia bears full responsibility for this armed conflict and the suffering of the Ukrainian people. We also condemn the active involvement of Belarus in this aggression.

We strongly support the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry with a strong mandate to investigate violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law. This Commission should have the mandate to gather and analyze evidence that is needed to ensure that those responsible will be held accountable. We count on the members of this Council to ensure broad support for this important step in fighting impunity.

We welcome the announcement by the ICC prosecutor that he will proceed with opening an investigation into the situation in Ukraine, with a view to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity that are committed in Ukraine. To underscore the importance of such investigation, the Netherlands has joined the initiative of State parties to refer the situation in Ukraine to the ICC.

With missiles and bombs hitting densely populated cities, the proof of Russia’s violations of international law is out in the open. It is up to this Council to show leadership and ensure that independent fact finding and evidence-gathering can start without delay.

Thank you.