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U.S. Statement | Human Rights Council 49th Session Urgent Debate on Human Rights Situation in Ukraine
March 3, 2022

Statement by Ambassador Sheba Crocker
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
and Other International Organizations in Geneva

at the Human Rights Council
Urgent Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine

March 3, 2022

Mr. President. I thank you for the opportunity to speak at this critical hour. We are here today because of Russia’s premeditated and totally unprovoked attack against the sovereign state of Ukraine, which stands as a brutal rejection of the principles of peace and the rule of law on which the United Nations was built. We are addressing it in this chamber because that attack has already caused the displacement, injury or death of more than a million people in Ukraine, and protecting the rights of those victims and holding perpetrators accountable for human rights abuses and violations of international law is why the Human Rights Council exists. I want to express the unwavering solidarity of all Americans with the Ukrainian people, as they bravely resist Russia’s assault. We are deeply alarmed by daily reports of civilian casualties and of Russia’s deployment of weapons such as cluster munitions and thermobarics against cities where innocent people are sheltering. We have seen the images and videos online of Russian forces shelling residential areas and bombing civilian facilities such as hospitals and preschools. And Russia’s brutality is getting worse.

The UN estimates one million people have already fled Ukraine. We thank Ukraine’s neighbors who have provided humanitarian support and call on them to keep their borders open to all those fleeing the fighting, regardless of their race, religion, gender, national origin, or residential status.

I want to be perfectly clear: the Russian people are not our enemy. We applaud those brave Russians who are risking their personal safety by peacefully protesting their government’s terrible,

mistaken war. More than 6,000 have been detained in the last few days alone.

We are facing a profoundly consequential moment—for Ukraine and for the entire world.

Today, all of us here have a choice: stand up and be counted, or act like none of this matters, while the people of Ukraine suffer. The Human Rights Council must send a clear, unmistakable message: Not only has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine trampled the core principles on which the UN was created, but Russia’s actions, which are causing death, displacement and violence against innocent civilians, are abuses of the human rights and violations of international humanitarian law. -The United States calls on all HRC member states to stand with Ukraine and vote “Yes” on the resolution. Thank you.