Sierra Leone Statement – Maintenance Of International Peace And Security On Humanitarian Situation In Ukraine

 Madam President, 

I thank you for convening this briefing requested for by Ecuador and France. 

I also thank Mr. Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and Americas, Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, and Ms. Edem Wosornu, Director of Operations and Advocacy, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for their important briefings. 

I acknowledge the presence and participation of the Representative of Ukraine in this meeting. 

Sierra Leone is deeply concerned about the dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine, which continues to deteriorate amidst the ongoing conflict. Two years of this devastating conflict, characterized by, inter alia, intense fighting and heavy bombardment across Ukraine and attacks in parts of the Russian Federation have caused increased civilian deaths, widespread damage, destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and vital civilian infrastructure, including essential service infrastructure such as power plants. 

Regrettably, reports of double strike tactic, especially when rescue operations are underway, after the initial attack, lead to civilian fatalities including first responders, which is also of great concern. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, civilian casualties in Ukraine have exceeded 30,041 with 10,287 killed and 19,444 injured since the conflict started. 

Madam President, 

The attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure remain seriously distressing. They have reportedly led to the fastest growing and largest displacement crisis in Europe and has precipitated a regional refugee response of commensurate scale. The recent airstrikes and missile strikes in Kyiv, Odesa and Kharkiv have resulted in destruction of energy infrastructure, disrupting electricity supplies and forced evacuations, exacerbating the already challenging circumstances faced by the affected population. 

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also reports that approximately ten million people have been forcibly internally displaced people and 6.4 million refugees who have fled abroad. 

OCHA has reported that there are now over 17 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including approximately 10 million people forcibly displaced. 3.3 million people living in frontline communities are grappling with severe shortages of resources and constant bombardment. As hostilities along the front line continue to hamper humanitarian organizations’ ability to deliver aid and services to people impacted by the conflict, Sierra Leone urges the parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations to protect civilians and allow unhindered access of humanitarian personnel and aid to reach people in dire need. 

Children have not been spared from the brunt and severity of the conflict. Allegations of gross violation of the protection measures for children during armed conflict have been reported. Such reported violations have the potential to impact, in the long term, the health and wellbeing of children. 

With over 1,500 attacks on and destruction of health care facilities verified by the World Health Organization (WHO) since February 2022, nearly half of health centres have been rendered non-functional in some parts of the east and south of Ukraine. In addition, millions of children have been exposed to increased trauma and mental health issues. 

Furthermore, the attacks on schools have had significant impact on education, with almost half of all educational institutions damaged or destroyed in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions, and a staggering 80 per cent in Donetsk, as reported. 

Across the country, it is reported that only one-third of children are attending classes entirely in-person, while one-third are learning through a mixed in-person and online approach, and another one-third are fully learning online. These varied forms of learning have created a tiered system with some students accessing a more wholesome education than others. This has serious implications for the educational future of Ukraine. 

The International Organization for Migration has verified the destruction of residential buildings which has left nearly 720,000 people in the worst-affected parts of Ukraine with no access to adequate and safe housing. In Kherson for example, nearly 30 per cent of people live in damaged buildings. 

Sierra Leone reiterates that all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international law. We call on all sides to ensure compliance with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law. 

In light of the scale and complexity of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Sierra Leone calls upon the international community to step up its financial assistance and resources to address the pressing needs of IDPs and refugees, enhance living conditions, and ensure access to essential services. 

We commend the efforts of humanitarian aid agencies for dramatically expanding the humanitarian operations over the past two years to respond to the growing and deteriorating needs that followed the escalation of the conflict. We applaud the efforts of psychosocial assistance and emergency shelter, to those in need. 

Madam President, 

In February 2024, in a bid to support Ukraine’s recovery efforts an updated joint Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA3) undertaken jointly by the World Bank, the Government of Ukraine, the European Commission, and the United Nations and supported by other partners. 

This report revealed that the reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine would cost $486 billion over the next decade, up from $411 billion estimated a year ago. The targets set for 2024, encompassing various forms of assistance, protection services, and socio-economic inclusion, underscoring the magnitude of the crisis. 

This report revealed that the reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine would cost $486 billion over the next decade, up from $411 billion estimated a year ago. The targets set for 2024, encompassing various forms of assistance, protection services, and socio-economic inclusion, underscoring the magnitude of the crisis. 

As we navigate the complexities of the conflict in Ukraine and its grave humanitarian consequences, we call on all involved parties to actively pursue a peaceful resolution of the conflict. We continue to call for meaningful steps to be taken towards the to engage constructively in good faith with a view to finding a political and diplomatic solution as envisaged in article 33 of the UN Charter. 

Let me conclude, Madam President, by reiterating our call for “the full respect of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders”. 

I thank you. 

Recent News

Scroll to Top