“Massive death and damage” caused by Russia in Ukraine

Date:

"Massive death and damage" caused by Russia in Ukraine

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Monday, February 27, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Mr. Guterres noted that hundreds of cases of conflict-related sexual abuse against men, women, and children had been reported in Ukraine in the previous year, in addition to the “awful suffering” brought on by the repeated shelling of Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.

  • Mr. Guterres emphasised the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the international community adopted 75 years ago to prevent a repeat of the Second World War.

  • “The UN head emphasised that now was the time to “stand up for the human rights of everyone, everywhere,” leading a call to “stand on the right side of history.”

  • The UN’s rights chief urges nationsKurt Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said all countries should follow the Universal Declaration.

  • He also said that people’s fundamental rights are better understood than ever.

Speaking just days after the UN General Assembly passed a resolution demanding that Russian soldiers leave Ukraine right now, the UN head emphasized that Russia’s decision to declare war on its neighbour on February 24, 2022, had resulted in “widespread death, damage, and displacement.”

The UN General Assembly President, Csaba Krösi, who was also present at the start of the 52nd session of the Geneva-based Council, gave a stern warning that Russia’s actions had “effectively paralyzed” the Security Council in New York, the main international body charged with upholding peace and security.

He claimed that the Security Council, like the General Assembly, was at a turning point.

According to Mr. Krösi, many nations are still working to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than 70 of them are in financial difficulty as a result of the world’s rising cost of living. In many of these nations, women and girls are also “systematically excluded.”

The General Assembly President stated that nothing less than a fundamental shift in the global response was required in the face of such “unprecedented…interlocking” challenges, particularly when it came to combating climate change, which is already an existential threat for many people.

Abuse in Ukraine has been confirmed.

Mr. Guterres noted that hundreds of cases of conflict-related sexual abuse against men, women, and children had been reported in Ukraine in the previous year, in addition to the “awful suffering” brought on by the repeated shelling of Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.

The UN Secretary-General informed the member states of the Human Rights Council as they gathered in Geneva for an unprecedented marathon, a nearly six-week session that “serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law against prisoners of war and hundreds of cases of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention of civilians” had been discovered in the previous year.

On March 20, the Independent International Commission of Investigation on Ukraine will update the 47 Member States of the Human Rights Council as part of its regularly scheduled activities.

As the Member States passed a resolution on the state of Ukraine’s human rights in light of Russian aggression, the investigation was launched in March last year. The three commissioners’ work complements that of the current UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), which, among other things, collects accounts of potential war crimes.

The 52nd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council gets underway in Geneva.
UN Image by Violine Martin

In Geneva, the Human Rights Council’s 52nd regular session begins.

Enduring truths

Mr. Guterres emphasised the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the international community adopted 75 years ago to prevent a repeat of the Second World War. However, he cautioned that while it should be the common guide for humanity, some governments “use it as a wrecking ball.”

The UN head emphasised that now was the time to “stand up for the human rights of everyone, everywhere,” leading a call to “stand on the right side of history.” The Universal Declaration, which outlines everyone’s right to “life, liberty, and security; equality before the law; freedom of expression; the right to apply for asylum; the right to work, to healthcare, and education,” should be “revitalised” by all of us, he said.

In 1900, 80% of people worldwide lived in poverty, but by 2015, that number had dropped to fewer than 10%. Mr. Guterres linked a century of progress on human rights to “extraordinary leaps” in human growth.

The UN head also warned that although the average life expectancy has increased from 32 to more than 70 in the last 100 years, we still face many problems in the 21st century.

For the first time in decades, there is a rise in both extreme poverty and hunger. Climate hotspots are home to 3.5 billion people or roughly half of the world’s population. As he warned that antisemitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, persecution of Christians, racism, and white supremacist ideas were all “on the rise,” the UN Secretary-General pointed out that just yesterday, a terrible shipwreck in the Mediterranean killed many people trying to make a better life for themselves and their children.

The UN’s rights chief urges nations

Kurt Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said all countries should follow the Universal Declaration. He also said that people’s basic rights are better understood than ever.

The UN rights head said that despite this, “oppression…can reappear, in various disguises,” citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an example of “ancient disastrous wars of aggression from a bygone century with worldwide ramifications.”

Mr. Türk said that we should use the opportunities modern technology has given us to fight poverty, climate change, and inequality. “If there was ever a time to revive the dream of universal human rights, it is now.”

While he challenged Member States to “address your people’s rights to freedom from want and from fear on an equal footing,” the UN rights head concluded, “the very future of humankind depends on finding our way back to that common language.”

In a statement, High Commissioner Türk emphasized that the Universal Declaration “not only voices ancient wisdom from all cultures but will ensure our survival,” echoing the Secretary-Observation General’s assertion. The Secretary-General noted that the Universal Declaration reflected the wisdom expressed in ancient texts, such as the Hindu Vedas, the Ancient Chinese Analects of Confucius, the Bible, and the Koran.

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