8 August 2014 - Security Council - Ukraine - Statement by Mrs Béatrice Le Fraper, first councellor of France to the United Nations
I thank Mr. Šimonović for his presentation of the fourth report of the human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine, which remains an essential source of information for us. I would like to take this opportunity to express our full support for the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and all the staff of the mission, who are working under very difficult conditions.
The security, humanitarian and human rights situations in Donetsk and Luhansk continue to deteriorate due to the armed separatist groups operating there. In the east of the country, arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances, summary executions, hate speech — in a word, terror — are affecting all civilians. Those who return after having been abducted report having been tortured by armed groups. The separatists are deliberately targeting public infrastructure to restrict civilian access to water, electricity and medical care, and thereby increase their humanitarian needs. Fighting and acts of intimidation are causing civilian casualties and displacement. The report presented to us illustrates that situation.
In Crimea, discrimination is now common and Tatars are victims of harassment and intimidation, while the commission of inquiry, despite our repeated requests, still has no access to the Crimea. Displacement and destabilization in the east, where the main industrial centres are located, have economic consequences for the entire country.
The violence is fuelled and maintained from outside. As Mr. Šimonović has just reminded us, the armed groups are increasingly more professional and well armed. Their leadership is made up primarily of people from the Russian Federation, who apparently fought in Chechnya and Transnistria. We denounce the presence of those foreign elements and call for an immediate end to outside support. We join the appeal launched by the Ukrainian Government for the flow of arms and fighters from Russia to cease.
We reiterate our call for the fighting in eastern Ukraine to stop and for armed groups there to lay down their weapons and evacuate all public buildings occupied illegally. The separatists must engage in a process of political dialogue that allows them to express their position legally and peacefully. The trilateral contact group under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is playing a key role in that regard so that the Ukrainian authorities and those groups can constructively achieve a ceasefire.
Faced with this situation, the Ukrainian Government has a responsibility to take appropriate and proportionate measures, in accordance with international standards, to fight armed groups, protect people and control of its borders. It has already taken steps to provide assistance to people forcibly expelled from their homes. Wherever Kyiv has restored its authority, basic services to the population are operating again and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has noted the return of displaced persons. We encourage the full cooperation of the Ukrainian Government with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies to continue to meet the humanitarian needs. We also welcome the solidarity of Ukrainian citizens in helping those who have been displaced.
Everything must be done to encourage a return to calm, which is a necessary precondition for launching a political dialogue. That involves, first and foremost, I repeat, control of the Russian/Ukrainian border so that the flow of weapons and men is stopped.
The international community stands ready to support Ukraine in its current efforts to regain its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We welcome the organization by the European Union, at the beginning of July, of a meeting of the contact group aimed at coordinating economic assistance to Ukraine.
New measures against Russia have been necessary — adopted by the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and Switzerland. They demonstrate the international community’s determination to push Russia to work towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate how much we regret the fact that the investigators of the crash of Flight MH-17 have still not been able to complete their task in spite of the efforts of Australia, the Netherlands and Malaysia, in full cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities. As Ms. Pillay said, we could be talking about a war crime here, and every effort should be made to ensure that those responsible answer for their actions. Generally speaking, every element that the commission of inquiry collects should be able to be used in judicial proceedings.