ILO Governing Body, 344th session
14th to 26th March 2022
The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine from the perspective of the mandate of the ILO
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries, the Republic of North Macedonia1 , Montenegro* and Albania* and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, align themselves with this statement.
We align with the cross-regional joint statement as delivered by Canada
On 24 February, the Russian Federation brought war back to Europe. Its unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermines European and global security and stability. It is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the Ukrainian population.
The Russian Federation, and its accomplice Belarus, bear full responsibility for this war of aggression and those responsible will be held to account for their war crimes, including for indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian objects.
We call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its military actions, to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine, and to fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders. We ask our partners to speak out in support of this call.
We stand by the women and men of Ukraine whose extraordinary courage and determination exemplifies their commitment to the shared and universal values of freedom, sovereignty and democracy. We will not abandon them in this time of need. As pointed out by DG Ryder, working people are among the first victims of this aggression and the devastation of jobs, enterprises and livelihoods will be massive and endure for many years to come.
We reaffirm the principle enshrined in the ILO Constitution that universal and lasting peace can only be established if it is based upon social justice. We recall the incontrovertible truth enshrined in the Centenary Declaration which states that ‘the experience of the past century has confirmed that the continuous and concerted action of governments and representatives of employers and workers is essential to the achievement of social justice, democracy and the promotion of universal and lasting peace’.
The EU and its Member States express their unwavering support for the tripartite constituents in Ukraine - workers, employers and its freely-elected government - at this most difficult time.
This is why we support the resolution text as submitted and fully trust that this Governing Body will adopt it, in solidarity with the tripartite constituents of Ukraine.
While it is the Russian aggression against Ukraine that we are discussing today, we cannot forget other situations across the world where human and labour rights are being violated. We once again commend the ILO for its invaluable work striving for fundamental principles and rights at work, supporting governments, workers and employers throughout the world.
The EU and its Member States will continue to be seized of this matter. We are determined to redouble our engagement with all ILO constituents and partners and push for an immediate end to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Thank you, Chair.