2022 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Agenda Item 13: Status of implementation of and compliance with the Convention and its Protocols
Joint Statement On Ukraine
H.E. Mr Aidan Liddle, Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
Geneva, 17 November 2022
Mr. Chair, I have the honour to speak on behalf of: Albania, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United States of America, and the European Union, and my own country, the United Kingdom.
We are gravely concerned about increasing reports of Russia’s failure to comply with its obligations under the CCW and its Protocols during its manifestly unlawful war of aggression against Ukraine. All CCW High Contracting Parties must adhere to their obligations. We remind Russia in particular of its obligations, under Article 14 of Amended Protocol II and Article 11 of Protocol V, to take effective steps to ensure its personnel comply with these Protocols and to cooperate with High Contracting Parties to the CCW to effectively address any noncompliance.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has exposed millions of civilians to the risks posed by explosive remnants of war (ERW). According to preliminary estimates, since February 24, 2022, 160,000 square kilometers of Ukraine are now contaminated with ERW, creating a grave humanitarian crisis. Ukrainian agricultural lands have been rendered unusable due to ERW, mines and booby-traps planted by Russian forces, which has contributed to hunger and the threat of famine around the world. Even as we meet the risks posed by ERW are increasing due to Russia’s unconscionable attacks against civilian infrastructure and residential areas.
We also express grave concern regarding the large number of civilians, including children, killed and injured by mines, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and explosive ordnance used by Russian forces in Ukraine. In this regard, we condemn any use of mines, booby traps, and other devices prohibited by Amended Protocol II. Survivors of these incidents are in need of greater assistance. Humanitarian demining and mine risk education remains essential to decrease the number of casualties in the future.
Mr. Chair, we greatly appreciate the assistance provided by numerous States to Ukraine since the beginning of this war. As Ukraine continues to regain control over its territory, more assistance will be needed in clearing and removing ERW and supporting victims. We urge all States to commit to further assisting Ukraine in its efforts to clear its territory from explosive ordnance and mines, mark areas where possible, conduct mine risk education campaigns, and assist the victims.
We also welcome the United Nations General Assembly Resolution “Furtherance of remedy and reparation for the aggression against Ukraine” adopted on November 14, 2022 at the UN General Assembly 11th Emergency Special session which recognised the need for a mechanism to provide reparations to Ukraine for all damage that has been done by Russia’s illegal invasion. We will continue our efforts to ensure accountability for any violations of this Convention and other atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, such as those documented by the International Independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.
Mr. Chair, we conclude by calling on Russia to take all appropriate steps to prevent and suppress violations of this Convention and its Protocols and to end its senseless and illegal invasion of Ukraine, in accordance with its obligations under international law, and in particular under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.