Delivered by Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative Mohamed Abushahab
I would like to thank Director-General Antonio Vitorino and Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements for their valuable briefings.
As we heard from today’s briefers, and in all our meetings on Ukraine since the conflict began almost two months ago, the human costs of the war are staggering. In a clear example of the toll the conflict has taken, more than a quarter of Ukrainians have fled their homes in this short period of time, 90% of whom are women and children.
We call on all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law. We also reiterate that an immediate cessation of hostilities throughout Ukraine is imperative to move towards a peaceful solution to the war. We welcome in this regard the Secretary-General’s call for a four-day humanitarian pause to allow for the opening of a series of humanitarian corridors. This would help preserve lives, prevent and alleviate suffering, and protect civilians.
More broadly, in the context of the current situation, I would like to focus on four points:
First, dialogue remains the only way to sustainably end this conflict. The UAE supports the ongoing negotiations between the parties, and we support all good-faith efforts aimed at reaching a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in all peace efforts must be guaranteed, considering their critical role in building a more sustainable and durable peace.
Second, the human suffering of the conflict requires significant resources to render aid to those in need. In particular, we commend the generosity of neighboring countries, and others, in hosting large numbers of refugees, particularly Poland and Romania, who together have taken in more than 3.4 million Ukrainians, as well as Moldova, which has taken in more than 400,000 refugees amounting to 15% of its total population. We also commend the European Union for its ongoing support to states bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis.
Additionally, the UAE recognizes with appreciation the work of the UNHCR and the IOM in supporting refugees in host countries. Their work is essential to provide ongoing care and reassurance after many have lost so much in the war. We also reiterate our call to allow civilians to safely and voluntarily evacuate from conflict-affected areas and for humanitarian aid to reach those in need, in accordance with international law.
Third, we reiterate the need for a gender-responsive approach to be implemented in all humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and host countries. We are particularly concerned about increasing reports of human trafficking. Ensuring that structured systems are put in place at border crossings to vet assistance providers and to detect, prevent, and suppress the criminal activity of traffickers is essential to ensure the safety of women and children. In that context, the humanitarian response must include the voices of women, who can inform the provision and delivery of humanitarian assistance, services, and programming efforts with their needs at the center.
Fourth, we need to also address the global impacts of the conflict in Ukraine urgently and effectively. This is especially critical as we have seen the sharp rise in food and commodity prices, including in many countries on this Council’s agenda.
To conclude, we should spare no efforts to end the conflict and the ongoing humanitarian tragedy through diplomacy, and the UAE will support any initiative to this end.
Thank you, Madam President.