I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries. We welcome the convening of this Special Session and thank the High Commissioner and the speakers for their statements.
It has been more than two months now since Russia launched the unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine in grave violation of international law. Russia has consistently ignored the calls by the UN General Assembly, this Council, other international bodies as well as the order of the International Court of Justice to cease aggression and immediately withdraw all forces and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine.
The General Assembly has voted in favor of suspending Russia`s membership rights of this very Council – a clear sign that the world has strongly condemned Russia`s actions, including the grave violations of human rights.
Unfortunately, all this has not been enough. We are still facing one of the fastest-growing displacement and humanitarian crises where innocent civilians suffer the most. We are seeing devastating consequences globally, including for food and energy security. Developing countries and persons in vulnerable situations are the most affected.
As said by the High Commissioner, Russian armed forces have indiscriminately shelled and bombed populated areas, wrecking hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure. We are witnessing torture and other ill-treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, used as a weapon of war, arbitrary arrests, abductions, enforced disappearances and deportations, especially of children and their illegal adoptions in Russia. We are witnessing what may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity on a daily basis.
We strongly denounce Russia’s actions as well as the denials, deceptions, lies and disinformation.
We also support the need for national and international, transparent, independent and prompt investigations into all violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
We welcome the work already done by the independent international commission of inquiry on Ukraine. We fully support the investigation by the International Criminal Court and other initiatives. We encourage efficient and effective coordination among all relevant parties in the collection and documentation of the evidence.
Last but not least, we once again urge Russia to immediately end its aggression and to comply with its obligations under international law.