Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank Ms. Alice Nderitu for her informative briefing, and we listen carefully to Ms. Liubov Tsybulska and Mr. Jared Cohen.

Today we were reminded once again of this war’s terrible human costs, with thousands of people killed, millions displaced, and tens of millions around the globe facing increased food insecurity. As the conflict extends into its fifth month, it is clear that the humanitarian needs are immense and will require a prolonged response. Last week, the UAE delivered 27 tonnes of food and medical supplies to assist those fleeing the conflict.

With the intense  fighting in eastern Ukraine, there are increasing alarming reports of civilian casualties and diminishing access to necessities like food, clean water, electricity, and sanitation.

We express our deep concern for civilians trapped in Sievierodonetsk, including at the Azot Chemical Plant. We are dismayed that amidst heavy combat there has been no significant improvements in the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. Unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians and allowing safe and voluntary passage to those seeking safety remain an absolute necessity and should be at the forefront of the Council’s considerations. We stress once more that all parties must abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.

As has been repeated in this chamber, preventing incitement to violence is a key component to protecting civilians. Recognizing this, the international community has sought to take steps to counter hate speech. Indeed, yesterday the General Assembly marked for the first time the International Day for Countering Hate Speech. Nevertheless, Despite these we continue to see a rise in incitement globally. In this regard, I would like to highlight the following points:

First, we condemn in the strongest terms all forms of hate speech and incitement. The UAE has consistently taken a strong and principled stand both domestically and internationally against hate speech and intolerance, Hate fuels extremism and threatens peaceful coexistence. Constructive dialogue is vital to fostering tolerance and can serve as a basis for reconciliation. Women, in particular, are critical to long-lasting peaceful solutions, therefore must be full, equal, and meaningful participants in all peace efforts, including mediation and dialogue.

Second, the Council must redouble its efforts to address the malicious use of technology to spread hate speech. . The use of digital technologies to propel the spread of misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech, poses a particularly serious challenge in conflict zones. Threats to humanitarian workers are particularly insidious given the multiplicative effect on the civilians they are trying to assist.  To counter the effects of incitement, we need to identify and employ effective counter-narratives, support media literacy, and engage more closely with the private sector.

Third, we believe that thorough investigation and data collection are essential for accountability. There are ongoing investigative and factfinding efforts, including the “Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine” established by the Human Rights Council with a mandate to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law. Impartially establishing facts and circumstances is fundamental to achieving justice for victims and survivors, as well as for combating impunity more broadly. It is therefore essential that appropriate mechanisms must be given the time and space to conduct their activities.   

Finally, the violence in Ukraine is a stark reminder that this Council must prioritize conflict resolution and de-escalation. Our focus must be on supporting pathways to finding a diplomatic solution that will ease human suffering. We welcome the efforts of the Secretary-General and others in trying to bring the sides together. We also welcome their efforts to the broader impacts of the conflict, including by seeking to facilitate grain exports from Ukraine to help ease global food insecurity. Ultimately, however, what is needed is an immediate cessation of hostilities throughout Ukraine. Bringing peace must be our ultimate objective, and this Council must spare no effort to achieve this goal.

Thank you, Mr. President.