Delivered By: Saod AlMazroui, Alternate Political Coordinator
I thank Ms. DiCarlo for her valuable briefing. We also listened to the interventions made by the civil society representatives. I also join my colleagues in congratulating Ukraine for its Independence Day.
Our meeting today comes a year and a half after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, and the deterioration in the humanitarian, security, economic, and political situations.
Despite the attention of the Council and the entire international community, as well as the numerous calls to end the war, hostilities continue in the absence of a just and lasting solution.
As is the case in every war, it is the civilians who suffer the most from the ongoing fighting, which requires our special attention, particularly, the exposure of children as identified by the Security Council within the framework of addressing their special status during armed conflict.
United Nations institutions have monitored the alarming increase in the number of children killed or injured in the recent intensification of the war. The figures have risen from 87 cases between February and April to 140 cases in the subsequent three months.
The suffering of children is further compounded by the destruction and damage of hospitals, schools, and other institutions that provide basic services. Additionally, children are subject to sexual abuse and exploitation, and human trafficking.
In this context, the UAE underscores its alarm about reports of child abductions and forced transfers in Ukraine. Accordingly, we stress the need for parties to the conflict to protect children and respect their rights in accordance with the specific framework stipulated in the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions concerning the evacuation of children in exceptional circumstances. We also urge the parties to facilitate the reunification of these children with their families.
Given that the responsibility in this context lies primarily with states, we urge them to strengthen their responses to the suffering of children. This includes cooperation with the Central Tracing Agency of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the provision of information on children separated from their families and legal guardians.
The UAE affirms its steadfast commitment to protecting children in armed conflict and alleviating their suffering. Just this week, we announced an aid package for the educational sector as the new academic year commences. Since the beginning of the war, our humanitarian programs have also responded to the needs of civilians in Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries by providing relief and medical aid. Additionally, we have extended our support to the “Homes for Foster Families” project of the Olena Zelenska Foundation, which aims to provide an integrated incubating environment for war orphans.
In conclusion, we affirm that the continuation and escalation of the war trap us in a losing race in responding to the suffering of civilians, especially children. Therefore, the UAE once again reiterates its call for a cessation of hostilities and a diplomatic solution in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
Thank you, Madam President.