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May 13, 202234th Special Session of the Human Rights Council

<p><span>34th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>National statement by Iceland as well as a statement by Estonia on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries and a s</span>tatement by the Marshall Islands on behalf of the “Group of Friends of Accountability following the Aggression against Ukraine”, that Iceland is a member of.</p> <ul> <li><a href="/library/09-Embassies/Geneva/HRC%2034th%20Special%20Session.pdf"><span class="pdf">Statements</span></a></li> </ul>

Apr 19, 2022Joint Nordic Statement at the Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine

<p><span><strong>Statement by H.E. Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström on behalf of the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) at the Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine (19 April 2022).</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Sweden.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me start by thanking the briefers for their clear and concise remarks. I also want to pay tribute to the staff of your respective organizations and all other humanitarian workers on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. We are immensely grateful for their efforts, which sadly are essential for the safety and dignity of so many Ukrainians. UNHCR and IOM are doing impressive work to assist refugees and IDPs and we encourage you to continue to scale up your work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As we have heard from you, and as evidenced by so many testimonies from those who have fled, the efforts of humanitarian actors are dwarfed by the unspeakable horrors caused by the unprovoked, unjustified and illegal Russian aggression against Ukraine. The decision to launch this war places a heavy responsibility on those who made it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We welcome the efforts of humanitarian actors to assist and protect as many people in need as possible, as well as the hospitality and generosity of those countries who are hosting refugees from Ukraine, where Ukraine’s immediate neighbours – Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia – deserve particular recognition. The Nordic countries are proud to be part of a donor community that has mustered an impressive response to the initial humanitarian appeal of 1.1 billion dollars.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Going forward, let me highlight a few elements that we see as particularly important to further improve the efficiency of humanitarian work:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First, safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access must be ensured. Not least to the areas hardest hit by the conflict and particularly places which risk being encircled. Access to places like Mariupol and Kharkiv is still granted on a case-by-case basis and requires complicated negotiations, while the humanitarian needs are on a scale that requires sustained access. The main cause for the lack of access are attacks by the Russian Federation on areas where civilians are located, which compromises the safety and security of humanitarian actors on the ground. We call on both parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations to allow and facilitate access to the east and to other hard-to-reach areas, recalling again the particular responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the invading forces. We welcome in this regard the efforts by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, to negotiate a humanitarian ceasefire, during his recent visit to Moscow and Ukraine and we support the call of the Secretary-General for a humanitarian pause.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Second, in line with the humanitarian principles, protection and assistance must take into account the needs of everyone living in a situation of vulnerability. We see how women who have chosen to stay are at heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence. We also see how the elderly and people with disabilities are unable to leave. These aspects must be fully integrated in the humanitarian response.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Third, international humanitarian law must be respected. Civilians must never be a target. And civilian infrastructure must be protected. Sexual violence can never tolerated. This brings me back to the issue of responsibility. No amount of denial and disinformation will prevent accountability for serious international crimes including war crimes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are now almost eight weeks into Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine. During that time, we have witnessed horrific atrocities that have ended, ruined and disrupted the lives of millions. But we have also seen the international community coming together in solidarity with Ukraine. And, most importantly, we have been deeply impressed by the incredible resilience of the Ukrainian people.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In conclusion, we recall the two resolutions from the Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, as well as the order by the International Court of Justice issued on 16 March this year. All of them include a clear call on Russia to stop this war. But let us be candid: no UN resolutions or court orders are necessary in this regard. It is obvious to everyone what the right course of action is. This aggression should never have been launched in the first place and it must end now. It is never too late to make the right choice.</p>

Apr 11, 2022Joint Nordic Statement at UN Security Council Open Briefing under the Agenda Item "Peace and Security of Ukraine"

<p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I am delivering this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Sweden.</p> <p>Repeated attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, a growing number of reports of sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances and reported massacres.</p> <p>The list of unfolding horrors in Ukraine, many of which may amount to war crimes, goes on and it is reminding us of some of the worst atrocities in history. We condemn Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified and unlawful aggression in the strongest possible terms and demand Russia to immediately stop its aggression and withdraw all forces. We also strongly condemn the active involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine. We call for accountability and stand with the Ukrainian people and all actors inside and outside of Ukraine who are standing up against this injustice and promoting peace.</p> <p>We commend and thank Albania, the US and the UK for making today’s crucial meeting possible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What is happening today in Ukraine is having immediate impact on the lives of millions and is going to have a long-term, structural impact on Ukraine, the region and globally. Who is represented and what is discussed in peace, political and humanitarian decisions and responses will play a key role in determining whether the invasion’s vast gender implications are taken into account.</p> <p>Today’s meeting provides an important reminder to the international community that Women, Peace and Security and gender equality are integral to all analyses, responses and decisions in relation to Russia’s aggression. Women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and political processes is a matter of rights, but also a prerequisite for sustainable and legitimate processes. In addition, the inclusion of gender and intersectional perspectives is a must for identifying and addressing the needs of different groups.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me stress four points:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>• One, we must defend civic space. Civil society actors are leading key efforts on the frontline – responding to protection needs, monitoring the situation and providing peacebuilding and humanitarian support. Their voices are essential and must feed into policy and decision-making. Yet, their work comes at a great risk. We – Member States and the UN – have a responsibility to support an enabling environment, offer spaces to be heard by policymakers, prevent and address reprisals and provide adequate, rapid and flexible funding, in particular to organizations focusing on women’s full enjoyment of human rights.</p> <p>• Two, accountability must start now. Not later. It starts with gender-responsive monitoring and investigations of the alarming testimonies of SGBV, including allegations of rape, and the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, which may amount to war crimes. It starts with ensuring immediate survivor-centred support, access to rights and services, including sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Nordic countries are taking action in support of investigative measures, for example, through financial support and seconded personnel to the ICC.</p> <p>• Three, we need to focus on the link between participation and protection. Promoting women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and political processes requires support to safe and enabling environments. In addition, if we are to create effective protection mechanisms, this cannot be developed without the inputs from affected communities, not least diverse women and LGBTQI+ human rights defenders and peacebuilders. The diverse knowledge and experience of women politicians, civil society leaders, activists, peacebuilders and human rights defenders already active in policymaking at all levels within Ukraine's society, and not least working with conflict-related issues since 2014, is a considerable resource.</p> <p>• Finally, we must be able to address both immediate and long-term issues simultaneously. The international community must have the readiness to address both the humanitarian and refugee crises while providing support to long-term peacebuilding efforts. Gender and women, peace and security-related issues must be integrated throughout. The millions of children that are internally displaced or forced to flee Ukraine are particularly vulnerable and facing a crisis that could last for generations. Their homes, schools and medical facilities have been destroyed. Immediate and long-term support – and the bridge in between – will be particularly essential for their protection, psychosocial and educational needs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>*Written statement submitted to the Security Council.</p>

Apr 07, 2022Nordic Statement at the 11th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on Ukraine

<p>Mr. President,</p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,<br /> The General Assembly has just voted to suspend the Russian Federation’s rights of membership in the Human Rights Council. The Nordic countries voted in favour.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The suspension of the rights of a member state in the UN Human Rights Council is not an easy decision. The Nordic countries strongly support the Human Rights Council as an inclusive forum for dialogue on important human rights issues.</p> <p >But a membership of the Council encompasses responsibilities. Members of the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The General Assembly has a responsibility to safeguard the integrity and credibility of the Council. This includes considering the suspension of the rights of membership of the Council of a member that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Russian Federation’s unprovoked unjustified and unlawful attack on Ukraine is a gross violation of international law and the UN Charter and it has had a catastrophic impact on Ukraine, in particular on its civilians.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Already on 4 March 2022, the Human Rights Council expressed grave concern regarding reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” and “violations of international humanitarian law” by the Russian Federation during its aggression against Ukraine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are appalled by the shocking reports of human rights violations in the Russian controlled areas including sexual and gender based violence against women and girls, extrajudicial killings arbitrary arrests, abductions, enforced disappearances, as well as deportations. We condemn in the strongest terms the reported massacres, torture and sexual violence, including rape, used against civilians in Bucha, the liberated areas around Kyiv and other regions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Investigations into these crimes are ongoing. We welcome the establishment by the Human Rights Council of a Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law And we also welcome that the ICC has opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine. Due process in the pursuit of<br /> accountability will be ensured.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the meantime, t he UN Human Rights Council should not, and will no t, be tainted by a full fledged membership of a state accused of some of the most horrific war crimes seen in Europe since the end of World War II.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We created the United Nations and its institutions to ensure international cooperation around peace, security, social and economic development and human rights. The institutions of the United Nations must be respected as such. We should not allow them to be used deliberately to disseminate propaganda and disinformation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We thank member states today for standing up for the international rule based order, the integrity of the Human Rights Council and the rules and principles of the UN Charter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I thank you.</p>

Apr 07, 20229 Joint Statements supported by Iceland in HRC49

<p><a href="/library/09-Embassies/Geneva/Joint%20Statements%20HRC49.pdf"><span class="pdf">9 Joint Statements supported by Iceland in HRC49</span></a></p>

Apr 07, 2022Nordic-Baltic Statements and National Statements in HRC49

<p><a href="/library/09-Embassies/Geneva/HRC49-Statements.pdf"><span class="pdf">Nordic-Baltic Statements and National Statements in HRC49</span></a></p>

Apr 05, 2022NB8 statement in connection to the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, 5 April

<p>Mme President,</p> <p>I am speaking on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and my own country, Estonia. We place a high importance on the possibility to participate in the Council discussions on this issue.</p> <p>We thank the Secretary-General and Under-Secretaries-General DiCarlo and Griffiths for their presentations, and welcome the participation of President Zelensky in the briefing today.</p> <p>Forty-one days ago, on the evening of 23 February in New York, as the Council had gathered in this Chamber to discuss and urge the Russian Federation to refrain from threats and further aggression against Ukraine, including its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Russian Federation launched an unprovoked, unjustified and unlawful attack on Ukraine.</p> <p>It was, and remains, a war of choice. This choice was made by Russia in full knowledge of its violation of international law and the UN Charter as well as its catastrophic impact on Ukraine, particular of its civilians. It was also made in full awareness of &nbsp;the broader, global impact of the war – including on the most vulnerable countries and people. The Russian aggression – a war of choice – is now undermining the food security and development of countless nations around the world by driving up the cost of energy, fertilizers and staple foods, with the most vulnerable hit hardest.</p> <p>The Russian Federation, together with its accomplice, Belarus, has continued its aggression in blatant disregard of the calls by the UN General Assembly, the Secretary-General as well as the legally binding order by the International Court of Justice.</p> <p>This war is both cruel and unnecessary. It is systematically waged against civilians and civilian objects, turning living and thriving cities into ruins. The death toll of civilians, including children, recorded by the UN raises daily. But we know that the real figures of civilians killed and wounded are significantly higher. In forty-one days over 10 million people have been forced to flee their homes, over 4 million have left the country. Large numbers of those remaining, in particular in cities under Russian siege, are deprived of water, food, shelter, and medication. In addition, the Russian attacks have recklessly jeopardized the safety of nuclear power plants.</p> <p>This is accompanied by reports of human rights violations in the Russian-controlled areas – about sexual and gender based violence against women and girls, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, abductions, enforced disappearances, as well as deportations – bringing echoes of the century past. The aggression has led to attacks against journalists who have a critical role in providing information during a conflict, including the death of Mantas Kvedaravičius, a documentary filmmaker from Lithuania, who was killed on 2 April in Mariupol, where he was documenting Russia’s atrocities.</p> <p>We cannot look aside from the haunting images of the atrocities committed by the Russian forces emerging from Bucha, the liberated areas around Kyiv and other regions, which show the brutal face of this war of aggression Russia is waging against Ukraine and its people. We condemn in the strongest terms the reported massacres, torture and sexual violence, including rape, used against civilians. In the areas they held, the Russian forces destroyed homes, hospitals, and other civilian infrastructure, and reportedly left areas mined. The responsibility for these actions, which show how far Russia is willing to go in pursuing its unlawful objectives, lies with the Russian authorities, who were in effective control of these areas during their commission.</p> <p>Mme President,</p> <p>We call for Russia’s full respect for its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law.</p> <p>We demand that Russia immediately and unconditionally withdraw all of its troops from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and implement with immediate effect the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice.</p> <p>We urge Russia to immediately cease its attacks and deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian objects, as well as their &nbsp;use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in residential areas &nbsp;in clear violation of international humanitarian law, and fully implement UN General Assembly resolutions A/RES/ES-11/1 and A/RES/ES-11/2.</p> <p>We urge Russia to grant immediately full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian actors and assistance as well as protection and safe passage to allow civilians to safely and voluntarily leave conflict-affected areas to a destination of their choice. This includes the civilians in an extremely dire humanitarian situation in Mariupol.</p> <p>We call for accountability for all violations of international law, including the atrocities committed by the Russian forces in Bucha and other areas. This includes holding accountable the perpetrators of these violations as well as the responsible government officials and military leaders. We welcome the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council as well as the work under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism. In addition, all Nordic and Baltic countries have joined the referral of the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court. We fully support the efforts of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in conducting the investigation concerning allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. We encourage UN member states to join the newly established Group of Friends of Accountability following the Aggression against Ukraine.</p> <p>We underline the importance of continued UN monitoring, documenting and reporting on violations against civilians, including women and children, through its established mechanisms. We underline and recognize the important role women can play in responding to these atrocities to ensure efficient action and to build resilience.</p> <p>Mme President,</p> <p>The Nordic and Baltic countries have continued to assist those affected by conflicts around the world – and together with the international community, the UN system and civil society we will continue provide support to the courageous people of Ukraine.</p> <p>We stand for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We stand for humanity in the face of cruelty. We stand for accountability. We stand with the people – women, men and children – of Ukraine. This is our choice.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

Apr 05, 2022On the Russian War Against Ukraine and Atrocities Discovered in the Kyiv Liberated Region

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/Vienna/1366%20PC,%205.4.2022.pdf">Statement by H.E. Ambassador Kristín A. Árnadóttir at the 1366 Special Meeting of the Permanent Council, 5 April 2022.</a>

Apr 04, 2022UNESCO: National Statement of Iceland at 214th session of the Executive Board

<p><span><em>National Statement of Iceland – Plenary debate (Items 4 &amp; 5) of the&nbsp;214th session of the Executive Board of UNESCO, 4 April 2022</em><br /> <strong>Delivered by the Permanent Delegate of Iceland, Ambassador Unnur Orradóttir-Ramette</strong></span></p> <p><span>Madame la Présidente, Madame la Directrice Générale,<br /> Monsieur le Président de la Conférence Générale,<br /> Excellences, distingué collègues,</span></p> <p><span>L’Islande a été élue au Conseil Exécutif lors de la dernière session de la Conférence Générale. Au nom de mon gouvernement je vous remercie de votre soutien et de la confiance que vous nous avez accordée.<em> [Iceland was elected to the Executive Board at the last General Conference. On behalf of my Government I would like to thank you for the valuable support and trust.]</em></span></p> <p><span>The world is facing several global challenges, including climate change and environmental issues, that call for concerted actions and strengthened international cooperation on multiple fronts. The pandemic and current global turmoil continue to have a strong impact on UNESCO's work and have demonstrated the organisation’s relevance. Therefore, it is important that this Executive Board's session will do its utmost to protect, strengthen and deliver on UNESCO's mandate and reputation.</span></p> <p><span>We would like to reiterate our joint <a href="https://www.government.is/diplomatic-missions/embassy-article/2022/03/15/UNESCO-Nordic-Statement-at-Seventh-Special-Session-of-the-Executive-Board/">Nordic Statement</a>&nbsp;at the 7th Special Session and stress that Iceland is deeply concerned about the devastating effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on human rights, access to education, protection of cultural heritage, science, the independent media, and free flow of ideas and information. We call on UNESCO to continue to support the Ukrainian authorities and people to ensure the access and right to education of all those affected by the war.</span></p> <p><span>We also see alarming developments in Afghanistan. A <a href="https://www.government.is/diplomatic-missions/embassy-article/2022/02/10/UNESCO-Joint-Statement-of-Support-for-the-Respect-of-Afghan-Womens-and-Girls-Human-Rights/">Joint Statement</a>&nbsp;of support for the Respect of Afghan Women's and Girls Human Rights was co-signed by 45 members of the Group of Friends for Gender Equality on 10 February. Attention to the ongoing violations of women’s and girls’ human rights must remain high on the organisation’s agenda.</span></p> <p><span>The Group of Friends of Afghanistan convened a meeting 10 days ago to discuss the situation in all areas of UNESCO’s competence in the country. Following those efforts 14 Executive Board members, including Iceland, have now tabled an <a href="https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000381110.locale=en">amendment to document 214 EX/4.I</a>, co-sponsored by a cross regional group of Member States, which asks UNESCO and the Director-General to continue following and reporting on the situation in its fields of competence. The amendments were published on Friday, and we expect to see your Delegation’s support on this important issue.</span></p> <p><span>Dear colleagues,<br /> We were pleased to see the strong links to the Sustainable Development Goals in the new medium-term strategy and programme and budget, as it is crucial to fully support the 2030 Agenda in this Decade of Actions. The effectiveness of UNESCO remains a focus for us. Iceland welcomes work that can increase transparency and accountability – We agree with the need for the continued implementation of the UNESCORE Programme and support the organisation’s work on the core system redesign.</span></p> <p><span>It is important for UNESCO to continue efforts regarding the implementation of the UN Development System reform and to align itself with efforts of the UN system. Iceland would welcome more detailed and concrete information on the implementation of the various reforms.</span></p> <p><span>The human rights-based approach is paramount to the organisation’s work in all its Programmes and areas of competence, and we encourage UNESCO to continue strengthening this approach. Iceland places high importance on gender equality and gender diversity and we would like to appeal for an increase in tangible focus on LGBTI people and their rights, as well as a more ambitious and inclusive approach to gender mainstreaming.</span></p> <p><span>Ladies and gentlemen,<br /> Iceland stresses the importance of increasing access and quality of education in developing countries. Iceland’s multidisciplinary Category 2 Centre, GRÓ, was founded two years ago and builds on the long-standing work of four training programmes in the fields of geothermal energy, fisheries, land restoration and gender equality. The Centre has operated under the auspices of UNESCO since 2020 and focuses on capacity development.</span></p> <p><span>We also continue our support for UNESCO’s important work for Freedom of Expression, as free and pluralistic media are important to all societies. We are witnessing crackdown on freedom of expression – We must push back on this development. At the same time artistic and scientific freedom must be protected.</span></p> <p><span>The cultural sector and the creative industries are an important part of the global economy and Iceland is eager to contribute to the strengthening of multilateral cooperation on the sustainable development of the global cultural sector. We particularly look forward to meaningful exchanges on the topic at the MONDIACULT conference in Mexico in September.</span></p> <p><span>Dear friends,<br /> Our thoughts are with Ukraine and its people. Now action is needed to end this war. I would like to remind you of an Icelandic poem cited by the <a href="https://www.government.is/diplomatic-missions/embassy-article/2021/11/12/UNESCO-Address-by-the-President-of-Iceland-at-the-75th-anniversary-event/">President of Iceland at UNESCO’s 75th anniversary</a>&nbsp;event:</span></p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;For when there is wrong that you can put right<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;and when there is struggle but you stand aside<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;the troubles of this world are also your fault. <span style="white-space: pre;"> </span><em>[Author: Tómas Guðmundsson]</em></p> <p><span>Pour les sessions à venir notre Délégation est impatiente de collaborer efficacement avec tous nos membres du Conseil Exécutif. <em>[My delegation looks forward to working with colleagues on effective action at this session of the Executive Board.]</em></span></p> <p><span>Je vous remercie.<em> [I thank you.]</em><br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Mar 30, 2022Joint Nordic-Baltic statement for the Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner's Oral Update on Ukraine

<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Human Rights Council<br /> 49th session<br /> Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner‘s Oral Update on Ukraine<br /> Statement delivered by Lithuania on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic Countries (NB8)</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">(90 sec. 217)</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">On behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries, I thank the High Commissioner for her oral update and the </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">UN Human Rights monitoring mission in Ukraine for its work.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We stand united with Ukraine facing large scale unprovoked, unlawful and unjustified aggression by Russia, </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">enabled by Belarus. </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We admire the courage of the Ukrainian people defending their country and legally binding norms of the international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We urge Russia to immediately cease the attacks </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">and deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">especially</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"> </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">using explosive weapons, such as cluster munitions</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">, in residential areas, </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">which are grave violations of international humanitarian law. We demand Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Russia is responsible </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">for the bloodshed of innocent people, including women and children, and for millions lives destroyed.</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"> All human rights violations and suspected war crimes must be investigated and accountability ensured. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Accountability matters. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Justice cannot be escaped. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The international community must do everything to hold Russia and its accomplice Belarus to account. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The Nordic-Baltic countries commend the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry and call for its immediate operationalization. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em><span>Madam High Commissioner, what more could be done to strengthen our efforts in seeking justice for victims and accountability of perpetrators? </span></em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p>

Mar 30, 202249th session of the Human Rights Council: statement by Iceland during interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner on the oral report on Ukraine

<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner <br /> on the oral report on Ukraine</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">30 March</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Statement by Iceland</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. President.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland thanks the High Commissioner for her Oral Report and the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine for its work. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland reiterates its support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders. Our position remains clear: we do not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and strongly condemn Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We are witnessing an escalating pattern of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including Russia’s indiscriminate attacks on civilian lives and infrastructure. We urge Russia to uphold its obligations for safe and unhindered humanitarian access in Ukraine.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. President, </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We are deeply alarmed at the security risks faced by journalists and human rights defenders in areas occupied by Russia, as well as increased repression of media freedom and right to freedom of expression in Russia relating to the war in Ukraine. The right to freedom of opinion and expression must be respected. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Prisoners of war must be treated humanely and protected against acts of violence or intimidation, including public curiosity.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland stands in full unity with the people of Ukraine and demands the withdrawal of all Russian military personnel and equipment from Ukraine.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p>

Mar 28, 2022Standing Committee of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme (83rd meeting): Statement by Iceland

<span></span> <p class="Default" style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Standing Committee of the Executive Committee of</span></strong></p> <p class="Default" style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 11pt;">the High Commissioner's Programme (83rd meeting)</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">8-10 March 2022</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Statement by Iceland</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">H.E. Harald Aspelund, Permanent Representative of Iceland</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you, Madame Chair.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland is gravely concerned about the plight of the Ukrainian people and condemns Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine in the strongest possible terms.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Civilians are suffering, lives and livelihoods lost and we are looking at consequences that will not only be horrific for Ukraine, but also tragic for the world as whole. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The outflow of refugees from Ukraine is nearing 2 million, with the majority being women and children. Neighboring countries have kept their borders open and shown tremendous hospitality, albeit under immense pressure. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">And let us not forget about those who remain internally displaced or bunkered down with nowhere to go due to the intensity of aerial and ground attacks on civilian infrastructure – homes, schools, and health facilities. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">This is a flagrant breach of international humanitarian law and must stop. Adherence to international human rights law and international humanitarian law is not optional. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Unhindered humanitarian access, including freedom of movement, must be guaranteed. Civilians, humanitarian and medical workers can never be a target. Every precaution must be taken to ensure and guarantee their safety, including their safe passage.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. Chair, </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The refugee crisis Europe is facing is the largest since the Second World War. It is absolutely essential that we all demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine, and its neighboring countries, and welcome Ukrainians to our lands. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland is committed to do so and is already receiving asylum seekers from Ukraine. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">These actions are in addition to our resettlement programme and efforts following the Taliban take-over in Afghanistan last year.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">On the funding side, we remain committed to providing unearmarked multi-year contributions, but in addition we have also allocated three hundred million Icelandic krona to humanitarian actors working in and around Ukraine, including to UNHCR. Emphasis has been on flexibility of funding to allow our humanitarian partners to programme and reprogramme as necessary. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. Chair,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine comes on top of an extremely dire global humanitarian outlook. Already, humanitarian needs were at record high and so was the number of people displaced from their homes – be it in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia or elsewhere.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It is in times like these that enhanced solidarity, unity, and human compassion is what is most needed – let us work together towards that end.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p>

Mar 28, 202249th session of the Human Rights Council: Response to Oral Update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights

<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>Item 2 – General Debate&nbsp; </span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>Response to Oral Update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>8 March 2022</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>Statement by Iceland</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you, </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland thanks the High Commissioner for her Oral Update.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We are concerned over intensification of restrictions on freedom of expression, media freedom, and right to peaceful assembly.</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="color: black;">Iceland strongly condemns <strong>Russia</strong>’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, as well as violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including attacks on journalists and media workers. Measures to restrict peaceful protests is of great concern. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly must be respected. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In <strong>Egypt</strong>, human rights defenders, journalists, and activists face repression, including by application of terrorism legislation against peaceful critics. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In <strong>Sudan</strong>, the use of excessive force and unlawful dispersal of protests countering opposition against the military coup is of great concern. We call for accountability and immediate end to impunity. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Women and girls still face disadvantages due to discriminatory laws and practices in <strong>Saudi Arabia</strong>, we acknowledge women’s increasing participation in society and workforce but remain concerned about severe restrictions imposed on women human rights defenders, including travel bans. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Finally, we are concerned regarding grave human rights violations and abuses committed against the Uyghur and other minority groups in <strong>China</strong>.<strong> </strong>Human rights must be ensured for all persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, also in Xinjiang.<strong> </strong></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p>

Mar 28, 202249th session of the Human Rights Council: Iceland's Statement in Urgent Debate on the Situation of Human Rights in Ukraine

<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Human Rights Council – 49<sup>th</sup> session, 3. March 2022</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Urgent Debate on the Situation of Human Rights in Ukraine </span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">stemming from the Russian Aggression</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, </span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">H.E. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir </span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">As we meet here today, a brutal war is being fought in Ukraine.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Russia has chosen a path of war and destruction: to invade Ukraine and create a serious threat to European and global&nbsp;security. It has enlisted Belarussian authorities, a regime that has shown utter disregard for the human rights of its own people, as its enabler.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">This war is waged to turn back the clock, to stop the advance of tolerance, understanding, peace - to take back the human rights that we have worked so hard for, and this Council is tasked with promoting and protecting.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The human suffering will be severe – in fact, it already is. Civilians are being killed and injured. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have arrived in neighbouring countries. With humanitarian needs mounting, humanitarian access must be secured, and international humanitarian law respected.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Russia bears full responsibility for this military aggression and all the destruction and loss of life it will cause. We stand in full unity with Ukraine and call on Russia to stop this senseless war and to immediately&nbsp;withdraw all its forces from Ukraine without precondition.</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p>

Mar 22, 2022ILO Governing Body - Cross-Regional Joint Statement on the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine

<p style="text-align: left;"><strong>ILO GB344 – Cross-Regional Joint Statement</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Presentation of the resolution on the </strong><strong>Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine from the perspective of the mandate of the International Labour Organization (ILO)</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Delivered by Canada’s DPR Tamara Mawhinney on March 22, 2022</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Madam Chair,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">I have the honour of delivering this cross-regional joint statement on behalf of the 47 original co-sponsors of the resolution, namely Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay, and my own country, Canada,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">As well as the following countries: Costa Rica, Israel, and the Republic of Korea.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">One week ago, this room spoke in unison to urge this Governing Body not to stay silent on the Russian Federation’s blatant violations of international law, the UN Charter, and the fundamental principles enshrined in the ILO’s constitution.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">For the people of Ukraine, the past week has meant seven more days of brutal and senseless bombing, displacement, and suffering.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The lives and livelihoods of the Ukrainian people, workers, employers, and their families are under attack. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Madam Chair,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The ILO was created with a mandate to pursue universal and lasting peace through social justice. 100 years later, we re-affirmed this commitment in the Centenary Declaration, and today, it’s time to do so again. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">It’s this Governing Body’s responsibility to take measures - within its purview - to urge Russia to abide by international law, and prevent further devastating impacts on the world of work in Ukraine and beyond.&nbsp; </p> <p style="text-align: left;">This is why we support the resolution text as submitted and entrust this Governing Body to adopt it in solidarity with the tripartite constituents of Ukraine. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unjustifiable. It is a flagrant violation of international law, the UN Charter and the principles upon which this Organization is founded. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">We call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally cease its aggression, withdraw its military forces from Ukraine and end the suffering it is inflicting. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">The Ukrainian people, including workers and employers, must have the freedom to determine their own future.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thousands of Ukrainian businesses have been destroyed, or forced to stop operating, and their workers have fled from hostilities.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We call for the protection of workers, employers and their families in Ukraine.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We commend the ILO for quickly adjusting its programming in support of aid for those who fled Ukraine. We count on the ILO to do all it can to support the tripartite constituents of Ukraine and aid constituents in their efforts to protect labour rights and promote decent work for those who have fled Ukraine. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Madam Chair,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Let us pay tribute to ILO’s staff in Ukraine, who have continued their tireless work amidst unfolding conflict.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Let us pay tribute to the unwavering efforts of trade unions and the business community from around the world to help Ukraine’s people.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">And most importantly, let us pay tribute to the solidarity of workers, employers and the government <span style="text-decoration: underline;">of</span> Ukraine, who are risking their lives in the name of freedom and social justice.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The Russian Federation’s disregard for the ILO’s Constitution cannot be tolerated, and must not be ignored by this Governing Body.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Today, we must condemn the Russian Federation with one voice. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">We must stand firmly with the&nbsp;brave and resilient workers, employers and&nbsp;government&nbsp;of Ukraine.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thank you.</p>

Mar 22, 2022ILO Governing Body, 344th session - The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine from the perspective of the mandate of the ILO

<p><span><strong>ILO Governing Body, 344th session&nbsp;<br /> 14th to 26th March 2022&nbsp;<br /> The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine from the perspective of the mandate of the ILO&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong><br /> </span></p> <p><span>Chair,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We align with the cross-regional joint statement as delivered by Canada&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Chair,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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’.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Chair,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>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.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Thank you, Chair.&nbsp;</span></p>

Mar 17, 2022Joint Nordic Statement at the Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine

<div> <p style="text-align: center;">Written Statement by H.E. Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström </p> <p style="text-align: center;">on behalf of the Nordic Countries at the UN Security Council meeting </p> <p style="text-align: center;">on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, </p> <p style="text-align: center;">New York, 17 March 2022</p> </div> <p>Madam president,</p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and my own country, Sweden.</p> <p>Let me start by condemning Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against a peaceful neighbour state and its 44 million citizens in the strongest possible terms. During these three weeks of war, Russia has caused widespread human suffering and a high number of civilian casualties, including children. We are appalled about the devastating humanitarian consequences and the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation.</p> <p>We are deeply concerned about the continuous rise in the number of people forced to flee. In these three weeks, more than three million people have had to leave Ukraine, most of whom are women and children, and we see an ever-increasing number of internally displaced persons and refugees. We are particularly concerned regarding unaccompanied and separated children, as well as the risk of trafficking of women and children. The women, peace and security agenda must be integrated into every aspect of the response, including in humanitarian efforts. From a gender perspective in needs analysis to funding local women’s organizations.</p> <p>Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine is a flagrant violation of international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermines international peace and security. In addition, this will also have devastating human consequences far beyond the borders of Ukraine. When millions of people globally are facing acute malnutrition and stand on the brink of famine, we are deeply worried about the impact of the invasion and the risk of increased food insecurity globally. To quote the Secretary-General, their breadbasket is being bombed.</p> <p>Madam President,</p> <p>The Nordic countries are strong defenders of a rules-based international order with international law, including international humanitarian law, at its heart. The targeting of healthcare and humanitarian personnel must end. International humanitarian law is clear: medical personnel, facilities and transports must be protected. The wounded and sick must be cared for and spared.</p> <p>In this regard, Russia’s flagrant violations of international humanitarian law are unacceptable. We condemn Russia’s attacks on civilian objects in Ukraine, including hospitals and schools, causing disruption of the delivery of basic services and increasing the burden on the humanitarian system. Civilians must never be a target and must be protected at all times.</p> <p>There should be no impunity for war crimes and we, the Nordic countries, will do our share to bring the perpetrators to justice. This is necessary to ensure justice for victims, but also to prevent and deter future violations. Accountability is an integral part of our obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law.</p> <p>Madam President,</p> <p>This Council, and the international community as a whole, has a responsibility to fully uphold and respect international law, including international humanitarian law. humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in the provision of humanitarian assistance must be respected at all times.</p> <p>Current access constraints and rapidly changing frontlines hinder the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian assistance. The parties have an obligation to allow rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to reach all those in need of lifesaving assistance including food, water, healthcare, protection, and shelter, wherever they are. Safe passage for civilians must be guaranteed.</p> <p>Let me express our deep solidarity with the people of Ukraine at this dark hour. Last but not least, we would like to pay tribute to the brave humanitarian personnel who are working on the ground in extremely challenging and dangerous circumstances to address the needs of the people in Ukraine.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

Mar 15, 2022ILO Governing Body, opening of the 344th session - Cross-Regional Statement on Russia's aggression against Ukraine

<p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Cross-Regional Statement</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Opening of the ILO GB344</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Delivered by Canada’s Ambassador Leslie E. Norton on March 15, 2022</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Madam Chair,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">I have the honour of delivering this cross-regional joint statement on behalf of 55 countries, namely: Albania, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and my own country, Canada,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">103 years ago, the ILO was created with a mandate to pursue universal and lasting peace through social justice. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">As we meet today, these very aims are being violated. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine is causing enormous suffering and tragic loss of life. It is an egregious violation of international law, the UN Charter, and the fundamental principles of the ILO.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We strongly condemn this senseless military assault, which is supported by the Belarusian government,and we call on the Russian leadership to cease its aggression immediately. No more precious lives should be lost.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The invasion has forced Ukrainian people, workers, employers, and their families, to flee their homes, their workplaces, their businesses, and their country. Those who stay to continue their livelihoods are risking their lives. Many have already died in the course of doing so. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">The destruction of jobs, enterprises, and the forced displacement of the workforce, will have a long-lasting, devastating impact on the world of work in Ukraine—and beyond. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">It is this Governing Body’s responsibility to call for the protection of workers, employers and their families in Ukraine, and to take measures - within its purview - to urge Russia to end its aggression.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">ILO membership comes with duties and obligations, and all Member States must be accountable to them.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We, the ILO’s tripartite constituents, unanimously reaffirmed in the ILO Centenary Declaration what the ILO Constitution recognized more than a century ago – namely, that the concerted action of governments, employers and workers is essential to the achievement of social justice, democracy and the promotion of universal and lasting peace. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">We also recognized that conflict and humanitarian emergencies are not only a threat to economic and social progress, but also to securing shared prosperity and decent work for all.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">This Governing Body cannot remain indifferent whilst the ILO’s founding principles are treated with contempt and undermined by two of its members.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In the face of such suffering, our tripartite constituents are translating those principles into action. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Each day, we are witnessing incredible acts of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, who desperately need assistance. Trade unions and the business community from around the world are providing help and support to Ukrainian partners and their families. Governments, trade unions, employers and communities outside of Ukraine are also providing a safe haven and livelihoods for those who have fled. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">We are proud of the joint efforts of the ILO community, but this should never have happened. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">The brave Ukrainians who are fighting for their freedom, and for the right to choose their own future, should have been safe at home and at work. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Chair,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We must stand up for international law and the principles on which this Organization is founded.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We must stand in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">We must stand, hand in hand, with the workers, employers and people of Ukraine.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We welcome the addition of this urgent matter on the agenda and we urge this Governing Body to voice its unequivocal support to the the tripartite constituents of Ukraine in this most difficult time.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unprecedented in nature, and it requires a strong and urgent response from this room. The Governing Body cannot stay silent.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Mar 15, 2022ILO Governing Body, 344th session - statement on Ukraine

<p><span><strong>ILO Governing Body, 344th session&nbsp;<br /> 14th to 26th March 2022&nbsp;<br /> INS Opening&nbsp;</strong><br /> <br /> Chair,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span><em>The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia[1], Montenegro*&nbsp;and Albania*, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European&nbsp;Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align&nbsp;themselves with this statement.&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p><span>Many thanks for giving us the floor&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>And many thanks to the DG Ryder for his opening speech&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>As we gather today, at the 344th session of ILO Governing Body, the Russian Federation is pursuing its aggression against Ukraine, including attacks on civilians.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>This is not only an attack on a free, democratic and peaceful Ukraine. It is an attack on global stability and security; an outrageous violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and a violation of human rights and basic humanitarian principles .&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>So, let us begin by making it very clear: the EU condemns in the strongest terms Russia's unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine. The EU also condemns the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine. We support the democratically elected government of Ukraine and its efforts to defend its territory within its internationally recognised borders and its people.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We fully align with the UN Secretary General's appeal to Russia to stop its aggression and his grave concern over civilian casualties and the human rights implications of Russia's actions. We also fully endorse Director General Ryder’s statement which describes this as one of the darkest chapters in the ILO’s century long history and a brutal repudiation of the organization’s mission to promote peace through social justice.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We stand by the women and men of Ukraine whose extraordinary courage and determination exemplifies their commitment to freedom, sovereignty and democratic values&nbsp; . As pointed out by DG Ryder, working people are among the first victims of&nbsp;this aggression and the devastation of jobs, enterprises and livelihoods will be massive and endure for many years to come.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The EU and its Member States express its unwavering support for the tripartite constituents in Ukraine – workers, employers and its freely-elected government – at this most difficult time.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Chair,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>While now we are focused on the Russian aggression&nbsp; against Ukraine, we cannot forget other situations where human and labour rights are violated. We once again commend ILO for its invaluable work striving for fundamental principles and rights at work, supporting governments, workers and employers throughout the world.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>This aggression not only brings suffering to the people of Ukraine. We are seeing this as an attempt by the Russian Federation to reshape the core principles of international relations.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Multilateralism, with the United Nations and ILO at its core, remains the only way to achieve global peace, security and prosperity.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We are ready to work with all ILO members, governments, workers and employers, to firmly defend the principles and values enshrined in the Constitution of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The Declaration of Philadelphia asserts that all human beings have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Together with a group of countries, we will propose a resolution on the matter for consideration of the Governing Body and we count on the wide support of all constituents&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The EU and its Member States will continue to be seized of this matter and call for the ILO to consider the impact of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine on ILO’s work, mandate and tripartite constituents in this and future sessions of the Governing Body and the International Labour Conference.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Thank you, Chair.&nbsp;</span></p>

Mar 15, 2022UNESCO: Nordic Statement at Seventh Special Session of the Executive Board

<p><span><em>15 March 2022&nbsp;<span>–&nbsp;</span>Impact and consequences of the current situation in Ukraine in all aspects of UNESCO’s mandate<br /> </em><strong>Statement by the Permanent Delegate of Iceland, Ambassador Unnur Orradóttir-Ramette</strong><br /> <br /> I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Iceland. We fully align ourselves with the statement by the Delegation of the European Union.</span></p> <p><span>Madame Chairperson,<br /> </span>19 days ago, we woke up to the tragic news that the leadership of the Russian Federation had started a military attack on Ukraine.</p> <p><span>Let me be clear that we condemn Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, with the involvement of Belarusian authorities. The action of the Russian leadership goes against the UNESCO Constitution and is a flagrant violation of international law, including the UN Charter. Accountability must be ensured for crimes committed.</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span>The Nordic countries are co-sponsors of the DR presented today on “The current situation in Ukraine in all aspects of UNESCO’s mandate”. We express our full solidarity and support to the people of Ukraine and reiterate our firm support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.</p> <p><span>Excellencies,<br /> </span>The historic vote that took place on 2 March in the Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly in New York shows that the global community wants a world built on the vision of peace and prosperity enshrined in the UN Charter. This was repeated with the resolution of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 4 March.</p> <p><span>Let us show that we have the same urge for peace here at UNESCO today.</span></p> <p><span>Today’s special session is an important step to address issues within UNESCO’s mandate in the UN system. We are deeply concerned about the immediate and long-term effects of this war on access to education, protection of cultural heritage, science, the work of independent media and free flow of ideas and information.</span></p> <p><span>We are witnessing violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law before our eyes every day that passes. Respect for international law is not optional. Civilians and civilian objects such as schools and universities, historic monuments, and cultural property must be protected.</span></p> <p><span>The unanimous UN security council resolution 2601 from 2021 calls on member states to “ensure the protection of schools”. This is in line with the Safe School Declaration of 2015, focusing on preventing attacks in order to ensure safe access to education. This war has already resulted in school closures across Ukraine and educational buildings being destroyed and damaged.</span></p> <p><span>The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict provides protection of cultural property during armed conflict. UN Security Council Resolution 2347 condemns the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage. Today’s war threatens Ukraine’s cultural heritage and diversity across the country, and we already have confirmed incidents of important cultural monuments and sites being damaged.<br /> Since the 24th of February we have seen communication infrastructure in Ukraine being targeted by the Russian forces and media representatives being subject to physical attacks that prevent them from doing their work.</span></p> <p><span>At the same time, with the ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression within the Russian Federation, the Russian people are being deprived of trustworthy information on the war through free, independent, and pluralistic media.</span></p> <p><span>Civilians are suffering and lives are being lost every day. This war will turn back the clock and stop the advance of tolerance, understanding and peace.</span></p> <p><span>Ladies and gentlemen,<br /> </span>We call on the protection of women and girls and other persons in vulnerable situations in Ukraine and emphasise the importance of women’s participation in decision making processes.</p> <p><span>We demand the immediate cessation of any attack on civilians, an immediate end of the unjustified aggression to guarantee the protection of civilians and of Ukrainian heritage from further damage and harm, and the full protection of journalists, media workers and human rights defenders. We also call for the absolute respect of the security and integrity of artists, cultural workers, scientists, scientific professionals, teaching professionals and students in Ukraine.</span></p> <p><span>The Government of the Russian Federation is waging a war against Ukraine in contravention of UNESCO’s fundamental principles of peace. The longer this war continues, the more devastating will the effects be on education, science, culture, and communication. We call on Russia to stop this senseless war immediately.</span></p> <p><span>Dear colleagues,<br /> </span>The Nordic countries stand united in their support for Ukraine.</p> <p><span>UNESCO and its member states need to make a strong stance for de-escalation of the current situation. We expect UNESCO to monitor the situation in Ukraine in the fields of its mandate to support accountability for violations, in accordance with international law. We welcome the high number of co-sponsors for the DR and call on colleagues here today to show support for Ukraine.</span></p> <p><span>I thank you.</span></p>

Mar 10, 2022On the Russian Invasion in Ukraine at the 1362 Permanent Council Meeting

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/Vienna/pcdel0375%20iceland%201362pc.pdf">Statement by Ambassador Kristín A. Árnadóttir, Permanent Representative of Iceland, at the 1362nd Permanent Council Meeting, Vienna, 10 March 2022.</a>

Mar 07, 20221361 Special PC 7 March 2022 (Ukraine)

<span><a href="/library/09-Embassies/Vienna/1361%20PC,%207.3.2022.pdf">Statement of H.E. Ambassador Kristín A. Árnadóttir, Permanent Representative of Iceland at the 1361th Special Permanent Council, 7 March 2022.</a></span><br />

Mar 03, 20221360 PC, 3 March 2022 (Russian Invasion)

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/Vienna/pcdel0334%20iceland%201360pc.pdf">Statement on the Russian invasion in Ukraine.</a>

Mar 02, 2022Statement on behalf of NB8 at the General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine

<div class="page-author page-metadata-content-item" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span><strong>Statement by Permanent Representative of Denmark, Mr. Martin Bille Hermann, on behalf of the 8 Nordic-Baltic countries at the General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine</strong></span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the eight Nordic-Baltic countries: Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Denmark.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From all corners of the world, we have come together.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To send a resounding YES to uphold international law and the UN Charter</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A resounding YES to the principle of the sovereign equality of all UN Member States.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A resounding YES to the need to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of all UN Member States.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A resounding message to Ukraine and all Ukrainians – in the words of a colleague who spoke yesterday: You are not alone. We stand with you. Today, tomorrow and until peace is restored and Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity are fully restored and respected.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We have also sent a clear message to Russia – and to Belarus. STOP the aggression now. Full stop.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What you are doing is unacceptable. It is wrong.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Your unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is a violation of the core principles that you signed up to when you laid the foundation of this very organization, of this community of nations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Your invasion of Ukraine deserves our strongest condemnation. You will be held accountable. Every legal avenue available must and will be used to hold the aggressor to account.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You must stop the war immediately. You must return your troops to Russia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You must return to the path of peace. Of genuine dialogue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is not too late to stop. It is not too late to reverse the course. It is not too late for you to return to this community, where we believe – with all our faults and imperfections – in the principle of the sovereign equality of all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are deeply concerned by the grave unfolding humanitarian crisis. We demand that all parties fully comply with their obligations under IHL and human rights law, protect civilians and critical civilian infrastructure and ensure safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access and passage. Humanitarian and medical personnel as well as hospitals and other medical facilities must be protected.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thousands of civilians have been killed. More have been injured. Close to a million innocent civilians have been forced to flee across borders. Even more have been internally displaced inside Ukraine. They are in need of help and assistance - without delay, without hindrance and pre-conditions. We take this opportunity to salute and express our deepest respect, appreciation and admiration for the generous assistance and protection that Ukraine’s neighbours have shown to all those fleeing the conflict. Men, women and children from all corners of the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Once again we echo the words of a protester had written on her sign:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If Russia stops fighting, there will be no more war.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If Ukrainians stop fighting, there will be no more Ukraine.</p>

Feb 28, 2022EU statement at the General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine

<p>Mr. President,</p> <p>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.</p> <p>The Candidate Countries North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, the country of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, San Marino, Andorra and Monaco align themselves with this statement.</p> <p>Let me start by expressing the EU’s full solidarity and support to Ukraine and its people, who are courageously fighting an unprovoked and unjustified military aggression from Russia.</p> <p>Since our GA meeting last week, the situation has dramatically escalated, despite tireless diplomatic efforts including at the highest levels. Russia has decided to turn its back to peace, to the rules-based international order as defined inter alia in the UN Charter, to diplomacy and to the international community.&nbsp; Russia’s military attack against Ukraine has already caused an alarming number of deaths, injured, IDPs and refugees.&nbsp;</p> <p>We condemn in the strongest possible terms the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by armed forces of the Russian Federation in violation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We also condemn the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine.&nbsp; We urge both Russia and Belarus to abide by their international obligations.</p> <p>We are also alarmed by Russia’s raising of the nuclear alert level.&nbsp; We call on Russia to de-escalate and to immediately return to the previous alert level of its nuclear arsenal and to avoid any actions that could risk the safety or security of the nuclear power plants in Ukraine, a non-nuclear weapon State under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).</p> <p>Russia bears full responsibility for this aggression and the resulting loss of life and destruction. We demand from Russia to cease its military operations immediately and unconditionally and to withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. We further call on Russia to engage in earnest in dialogue with a view to a political and diplomatic solution.</p> <p>Russia’s actions grossly violate international law and are in clear breach of the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act, as well as Russia's specific commitments to<br /> respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity under the Budapest Memorandum of<br /> 1994. &nbsp;This is arguably the biggest aggression in Europe since the end of the Second World War. It follows similar Russian aggression against its neighbours in 2008 and 2014.&nbsp; We underscore our firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and the Republic of Moldova and are closely monitoring the situation in region.</p> <p>This Assembly has a responsibility immediately and effectively to acknowledge and address Russia’s actions.&nbsp; Failing to do so will erode trust in the rules-based global order with the UN at its core and the UN Charter itself.&nbsp; It would send the wrong message to perpetrators of such aggression and heightensimilar risks to other UN member states in the region and beyond.</p> <p>We stand firmly by Ukraine and its people. We deplore the loss of life and human suffering. This is a dire humanitarian catastrophe and humanitarian needs are rapidly increasing. With the toll of IDPs and refuges rising, humanitarian support is a priority in the wider package of EU support offered to Ukraine in these trying days.&nbsp;</p> <p>The EU and its Member States are providing urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian population. Ukraine has activated the Union Civil Protection Mechanism and is receiving urgently needed supplies from EU Member States. In addition, the Republic of Moldova – to which more than 56.000 Ukrainians have fled – has requested and received EU humanitarian support in dealing with the human catastrophe caused deliberately by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine.</p> <p>We call on Russia and Russia-backed armed formations to respect international law, including international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructures must be protected and humanitarian access should be secured. We call on Russia and Russia-backed armed formations to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and to stop their disinformation campaign and cyber-attacks. We strongly condemn the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine and call on it to immediately stop such action and to abide by its international obligations</p> <p>We recall our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and call on all UN members not to recognize the two self-proclaimed separatist entities. The EU has reacted swiftly and decisively to Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed separatist entities and the invasion of Ukraine by adopting restrictive measures. We intend to take such measures against Belarus.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>Let us be clear on this. We firmly believe that the use of force and coercion to change borders has no place in the 21st century. Let us recall that the UN Charter prohibits both, the threat and the use of force, against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. Tensions and conflict should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. The EU together with like-minded partners have been united in making unprecedented efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution. But Russia has not reciprocated these efforts and instead opted unilaterally for a grave and premeditated escalation. With this one-sided step Russia is further isolating itself. &nbsp;</p> <p>We are today at a crucial and historical moment. Too many times in the past the international community has been blind or too slow in front of unfolding tragedies. Entire generations in many places around the world have paid and are still paying the price of inaction. We can’t make the same mistake again: we have to take action. After the UNSC’s failure last week, the GA has the responsibility to send a strong and united message on the need for Russia to immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations, withdraw its troops and opt for genuine dialogue. We call on Russia to avoid, in particular, any action that places the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear and radioactive waste installations at risk. &nbsp;The people of Ukraine and the whole world are watching us and counting on us. And will judge us on the decision that we will take today. And it’s our duty and responsibility for all of us to do our utmost to defend the UN Charter and the international order. We therefore hope that this Assembly will massively support the resolution tabled by Ukraine.</p> <p>The EU and its Member States will continue to do their utmost to protect the integrity of the rules-based international system, which is key to our collective security, and call on all UN Member States to do the same. On our side, we will continue to stand by Ukraine, support its democratically elected institutions and representatives and its people including through additional political, financial, humanitarian and logistical support.</p>

Feb 28, 2022NB8 Statement at the General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine

<p>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the eight Nordic-Baltic countries: Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Denmark. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>On the night of February 24, the Russian leadership decided to attack Ukraine. Let me be clear: We condemn in the strongest terms possible the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. People around the world are watching with horror the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, a member state of this organization. A member of this community of nations.</p> <p>We are struck with a profound sense of injustice and a profound sympathy with the Ukrainian people who are fighting for their country, their cities, their homes, their families, their lives.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Russian leadership’s aggression and brutal armed attack is in clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity within its international recognized borders. Their actions gravely violate international law and the principles of the UN charter.<strong> </strong>It is an attack on this organization.<strong> </strong>This cannot stand. </p> <p> Last week, the Russian leadership decided it would erase Ukraine’s right to determine its own future. This cannot stand.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>Russia counted on the world to remain silent. But we are acting. And on this day – and until peace prevails and every Ukrainian can safely return to their homes – we stand with Ukraine. The devastating consequences of this aggression - not only for Europe, but globally -cannot be overstated.</p> <p>Russian aggression against Ukraine will have global and long-term negative consequences, challenging the rules-based international order, if we let it go unanswered.</p> <p>We fear increased suffering in the time ahead. With potentially large numbers of casualties and extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure. We see fighting unfolding in and around urban areas. We are deeply concerned about the long-term, cumulative and protracted harm to the civilian population. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>We will continue to look at every single instrument in our toolbox, as a matter of urgency. Sanctions have already been enacted to cripple Putin’s ability to finance his war machine. Likewise, the role of the Lukashenko regime in Belarus in enabling the attack on Ukraine also demands a firm response.</p> <p>Nordic-Baltic countries have been delivering financial, humanitarian and military assistance to the people of Ukraine. And many of our partners around the globe have joined us.<strong><em> </em></strong>Every nation must look at how to further support Ukraine. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>During the past days we have watched with horror broadcasted images of families separated, children sheltering in the safety of the Kyiv subway system, kindergartens destroyed by Russian ordnances, and the ruins of bombarded residential buildings in the center of the capital of Ukraine. We are outraged by indiscriminate attacks on civilians in this unlawful and immoral war of conquest which serves no purpose and no principle but the naked quest for power and territory. This cannot stand. Russia must respect international humanitarian law and human rights law. Full and unhindered humanitarian access must be guaranteed. Civilians must be protected.</p> <p>We call on Russia to stop this senseless war. And echo the plea of the Secretary- General. We demand immediate cease-fire. We urge Russia to withdraw all its forces from Ukraine. And return genuinely to the path of dialogue and negotiation. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>Let me be clear: Every civilian death, every war crime, will be recorded and we will ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are held accountable and brought to justice. History has its eyes on us. Every legal avenue available will be used to hold the aggressor to account.</p> <p>Ukraine has sent a request to the International Court of Justice on Russia’s erroneous and absurd allegations of genocide in Ukraine, which the Russian Federation as cynically used as a false pretext for its invasion. The International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor has also noted that he is monitoring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prosecutor’s office may – and will - exercise its jurisdiction over and investigate any act of genocide, crime against humanity or war crime committed within the territory of Ukraine, as Ukraine has accepted the court's jurisdiction. We fully support the ICC’s monitoring of the situation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Colleagues,</p> <p>The rules based international order, which governs how states interact with one another, was put in place drawing from the horrible lessons of two world wars, promising one another that future generations would be saved from the scourge of war. The attack on Ukraine; the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a direct assault on the principles and purposes of the UN Charter. This cannot stand.</p> <p>The matter is now in the hands of the General Assembly. Where one veto cannot overrule the UN membership. Where the power and legitimacy is manifested in numbers. Russia’s, the aggressor’s, shameful use of the veto on a matter it bears full responsibility for is completely unacceptable. As a permanent member of the Security Council Russia has a special responsibility of maintaining peace and security, not violate the very principles of the UN Charter. The latest meetings of the Council demonstrated the need for reform. It demonstrated who had the firmness and valor to defend the UN Charter.</p> <p>No country can grow and thrive in isolation. Russia knows this. The General Assembly has the power to send a firm message to Putin. What we say today and how we vote on the resolution presented will make a difference on the ground in Ukraine and to the Ukrainian people. They will be watching us. Hoping that the world will come in on the side of the UN Charter and our promise of “never again”. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Colleagues,</p> <p>Russia’s unlawful and brutal armed attack on Ukraine will affect and impact everyone. And if we do not join our forces to turn back this tide today, we will be even less equipped to deal with similar crimes in the future – wherever, on whichever continent they occur.</p> <p>Over the last week we have heard powerful statements from representatives of every continent on this planet, from Africa to Asia, from Europe to the Americas, that Russia’s behaviour (towards a fellow member) of the United Nations cannot stand. And we will hear more today.</p> <p>To those who still refer to “two parties to a conflict”, we echo the words of a protester, who so rightly had written on her sign: </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If Russia stops fighting there will be no more war.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If Ukrainians stop fighting there will be no more Ukraine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That is the simple reality before us. That is the simple truth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The world will hold Russia and Belarus accountable for their actions. Russia as the main aggressor. Belarus as the enabler.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you Mr. President.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Feb 24, 2022Statement by Iceland on the situation in Ukraine

<p><strong>Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, 1426bis (extraordinary) meeting&nbsp;of the Ministers' Deputies. Statement delivered by Ragnhildur Arnljótsdóttir.</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Mr. Chair, </p> <p>Here we are – just 24 hours after our last meeting on the same item. Yesterday’s united plea from this body on the Russian Federation to revoke the decision to recognize the non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk and to de-escalate have fallen on deaf ears. We woke up to news of a military attack by the Russian Federation on Ukraine this morning. This reckless and unprovoked attack of Russia on Ukraine is a clear breach of international law and the very values and principles upon which this organization is founded.</p> <p>Iceland stands in full solidarity with Ukraine and calls on the Russian Federation to immediately cease hostilities, to withdraw its forces from Ukraine and to return to dialogue and diplomacy. Peace must be restored – without delay. </p> <p>As stated yesterday, this body must react when a Member State seriously violates its Statutory obligations. We had hopes that there was still room for dialogue and diplomacy based on respect for the principles enshrined in the Statute. </p> <p>Unfortunately, the recent developments indicate the opposite. We deeply regret that it has come to this, but this body now needs to follow the provisions of the Statute, including actions under Article 8, and suspend the Russian Federation from the Council.</p> <p>In conclusion, Mr. Chair, Iceland reiterates its unwavering support for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders – a reiteration that cannot be emphasized enough in these dark times.</p> <p>I thank you.</p>

Feb 24, 20221358 Reinforced PC, 24 February 2022 (Russian Invasion in Ukraine)

<span><a href="/library/09-Embassies/Vienna/pcdel0316%20iceland%201358reinforced%20pc.pdf">Statement by H.E. Ms. Thordís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, at the 1358th (Reinforced) Permanent Council, Vienna, 24 February 2022</a></span>

Feb 22, 20221357 Reinforced PC, 22 February (Russian Invasion in Ukraine)

<span><a href="/library/09-Embassies/Vienna/pcdel0242%20iceland%201357pc.pdf">Statement by H.E. Mr. Martin Eyjólfsson, Permanent Secretary of State of&nbsp;Iceland, at the 1357th (Reinforced) Permanent Council, Vienna, 22 February 2022.</a></span>

Feb 21, 20221356 Special PC, 21 February (Russian Invasion in Ukraine)

<span><a href="/library/09-Embassies/Vienna/pcdel0244%20iceland%201356%20special%20pc.pdf">Statement of Ambassador Kristín A. Árnadóttir, Permanent Representative&nbsp;of Iceland, at the 1356th Special Permanent Council Meeting, Vienna, 21&nbsp;February 2022.&nbsp;</a></span>

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