Advocacy statements

Statement at the urgent debate on the situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression

  • Date / 2022
  • Location / Ukraine
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council

International Humanist and Ethical Union

Oral Statement

UN Human Rights Council 49th Session (28 February 2022 to 01 April 2022)

Urgent Debate: The situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression

4 March 2022


Mr President,

The unprovoked and illegal invasion by Russia in Ukraine is a violation of the UN Charter and international law, including human rights law. As each day goes by, we witness an increasing number of gross and systematic violations of human rights. It is a tragedy unfolding before our eyes.

This Council has a duty to respond.

It must adopt a robust resolution unequivocally condemning Russia’s actions and establishing a Commission of Inquiry to report on the situation in Ukraine and promote accountability for all forms of human rights violations occurring there.

Such violations are clearly facilitated and sustained by the oppressive human rights climate in the Russian Federation itself; the severe restrictions on free expression, the widespread propagation of disinformation, the repression of civil society, and the intimidation, censoring and criminalisation of journalists[1] all contribute to the Russian government being able to wage a war of aggression without accountability at home.[2] Accordingly, any Council resolution needs to create a mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Russia.

Mr President, we meet today at the UN Human Rights Council; a body specifically tasked with protecting and promoting the human rights of all. To have a country that is, as we speak, dropping bombs on innocent civilians and wilfully blocking any action at the UN Security Council, continue to sit as a member of this Council is nothing less than a stain on the Council’s integrity and a shame on us all. Any resolution adopted must urge the General Assembly to suspend Russia’s HRC membership immediately.[3]

Thank you.

[1] E.g. https://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2022/02/27/war-in-ukraine-russia-steps-up-censorship/, https://www.rferl.org/a/crimea-yesypenko-sentenced-prison-radio-free-europe/31706514.html

[2] Currently, a bill essentially criminalising independent reporting on Russian army operations is being drafted in Russia’s State Duma, https://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2022/03/01/censorhip-russia-blocks-access-to-independent-media-over-war-coverage/, https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/03/01/russian-lawmakers-eye-15-year-prison-terms-for-fakes-about-ukraine-invasion-a76687.

[3] As a result of both its gross and systematic violations and its manifest breach of the UN Charter and non-cooperation with UN mechanisms – as mandated by the General Assembly Resolution 60/251, https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/60/251&Lang=E


Suggested academic reference

'Statement at the urgent debate on the situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression', Humanists International

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