52nd session of the Human Rights Council
MINISTERIAL SIDE EVENT ON THE AGGRESSION AGAINST UKRAINE:
HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN IMPACT IN UKRAINE AND BEYOND
27 February 2023, 16:00-17:00, Room XXI, Palais des Nations, Geneva
REMARKS BY THE EU SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, EAMON GILMORE
369 days ago history stood still as Russia brutally invaded Ukraine. One year later, what do we see? In Ukraine, countless blatant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including war crimes. Across Europe, more than 8 million refugees.
Beyond Ukraine, Russia’s actions are sending shockwaves to the world economy, tumbling energy prices and food crisis, which in turn curtail the enjoyment of human rights of millions of people around the world. President Putin is also guilty of trampling upon the human rights of his own people, including those who courageously raise their voices in protest against the war.
One year later, the European Union stands firmly with Ukraine. And so does the overwhelming majority of the international community, including the 141 states who last week voted in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and the restoration of its territorial integrity at the UN General Assembly.
EU welcomes all efforts in the UN and beyond to ensure full accountability for war crimes and other violations of international law committed in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, including the work of the International Criminal Court, as well as ways to ensure accountability for the crime of aggression.
Almost a year ago, this very Council established an International Commission of Inquiry to gather evidence of violations committed in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as to make recommendations on accountability measures beyond criminal justice.
The Commission’s findings are deeply disturbing: indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, extrajudicial executions, unlawful confinement and detention in inhumane conditions, torture, ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence and forced deportation, including of children. I saw the evidence of this first-hand when I visited Ukraine in June of last year. I talked with victims from Irpin and Borodyanka. I went to Bucha and stood on the edge of a mass grave.
Just as Russia continues to inflict horrors on Ukraine, so must the international community continue to document them. We appeal to all the Human Rights Council Members to defend the principles of this Council by supporting the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry.
And, we call on all of you to urge Russia to end this nightmare immediately.