New York, 20 March 2023 (TDI): Martin Bille Hermann, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark delivered a joint statement on behalf of Nordic countries at the United Nations Security Council.
The statement was made under the pretext of the Peace and Security of Ukraine. The Ambassador spoke on behalf of five Nordic countries including Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
In February, the Security Councils’ member states from across all regions of the globe, adopted a peace resolution in favor of Ukraine. At present, there needs to be an immediate adherence to the resolution.
There needs to be a complete unconditional withdrawal of Russia from Ukraine’s territories. The General Assembly has already emphasized the importance of comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in line with the principles of the UN Charter.
The Ambassador stated that a reaffirmed commitment is required to the underscored principles of sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
The Nordic countries highlighted three important areas of concern: (1) The disruptive global consequences of Russia’s war, and the importance of the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for global food security.
(2) Russia’s continuous violations of international law and the obligation to provide full, safe, and unrestrained access for humanitarian actors, and lastly (3) the impacts of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.
Russian invasion had not only devastated Ukrainian citizens but had worsened the humanitarian situation globally as well. The war has hindered Ukraine’s ability to produce and export grain and other highly demanded agricultural products.
Denmark’s Ambassador further stated that the Nordic countries are at the forefront of alleviating the disruptive global consequences of war. The Nordic countries have been making tremendous efforts to provide relief where needed.
This mainly included African countries which face extreme food insecurity due to a decline in export from Ukraine.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative is imperative in mitigating food insecurity, especially in developing countries. The initiative needs to continue without any hindrance.
The initiative has ensured exports of more than 23.5 million tonnes of grain and other food items from Ukraine since August 2022.
It has helped stabilize global food markets and food prices and ensured the delivery of food to countries in need. The statement urged Russia to be a part of the solution to ensure a 120-day rollover of the initiative, in line with the Istanbul agreement.
The deadly war activities of Russia have caused major destruction. The latest report by the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry highlighted numerous violations of international human rights law and humanitarian laws committed by Russia.
A wide range of war crimes has also made it to the headlines including sexual violence, torture, forced transfer, and deportation of children from Ukraine and their illegal adoptions in Russia.
The commission has also documented indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on populated areas, causing massive harm to civilians and infrastructure including schools and hospitals.
Russia has also been systematically targeting energy-related infrastructure, which may amount to a crime against humanity.
The joint statement called for complete compliance with norms and rules of armed conflicts. It urged the warring parties to adhere to obligations under international law and to protect civilians and infrastructure to enable safe access for humanitarian actors.
Lastly, the Ambassador drew attention to the disturbing reports of sexual and gender-based violence in Ukraine. The violence is perpetrated by Russian military personnel on Ukrainian women, girls, men, and boys.
Resorting to such Conflict-related sexual violence is a clear contravention of international humanitarian law and human rights. This situation constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity.
There is an urgent need for the delivery of justice as well as dignity and support to the war survivors. An investment needs to be made in the mental and psychological well-being of survivors along with sustainable peace and national resilience.
The joint statement emphasized the continuous support of Nordic countries to Ukraine. The Ambassador commended Ukraine’s initiative for a just peace, and support the various initiatives established to secure accountability for crimes committed in Ukraine.