Sierra Leone Statement on Maintenance of international peace and security (Ukraine) – Security Council


Thank you, Mr. President. 

I thank Ms. Joyce Msuya, Acting Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator, for her briefing; [and I take note of the information provided by Mr. Volodymyr Zhovnir, Cardiac surgeon, anesthesiologist and activist]. 

I welcome the participation of the Representative of Ukraine in this meeting.  

Sierra Leone notes with deep concern the reported overnight missile strikes on civilians and civilian infrastructure across Ukraine. It is reported that during a daytime attack, missiles struck multiple Ukrainian cities (including Kyiv, Dnipro, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Ukrainian and Kryvi Rih), killing at least 31 people, injuring about 125 others and seriously damaging a major children’s hospital.  

Based on reports, those killed in the multiple missiles strikes include doctors, patients, women and children, the very best and also most vulnerable in times of armed conflicts. 

Sierra Leone victims and the families of the victims affected by the missile strikes. 

Mr. President,  

Sierra Leone deplores attack on civilians, civilian and protected objects and vital infrastructure. The reports of the missile strike of the Kyiv main children’s hospital, resulting in the loss of innocent lives and extensive damage to a critical healthcare facility, are truly heartbreaking and distressing. We call on all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international law and take immediate steps aimed at de-escalation.  

We have previously reiterated in this Council that the deliberate targeting of residential or civilian areas, civilian infrastructure and essential services such as hospitals, schools, water and energy facilities are unacceptable and prohibited under international law. It poses a significant threat to the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable and protected populations, violating the basic tenets of humanity, and the principles of international humanitarian law.  

The devastating impact of these strikes on civilians, including women and children, is a stark reminder of the urgent need for the violence to end, and a renewed commitment to protecting civilian lives and infrastructure in conflict zones. It also begs for independent investigations aimed at accountability.  

We call on all involved parties to exercise restraint and take all necessary measures to avoid further civilian casualties and damage to critical infrastructure. The protection of civilians must be paramount in any conflict, including the conflict in Ukraine. Ensuring that the parties to the conflict maintain the safety of civilians must be the utmost collective priority of the Security Council. 

Let me therefore close, Mr. President, by urging all parties to prioritize the protection of civilians and critical infrastructure, including hospitals, to ensure essential services for the well-being and stability of civilians. The involved parties must choose and prioritize peace. Peace is made not between friends but between parties in a state of disagreement. Peace can also not be left to chance.   

Sierra Leone, therefore, reiterates its call for meaningful steps to be taken towards the immediate cessation of the hostilities, and for constructive and inclusive diplomatic efforts to achieve a just and lasting resolution of the conflict. In taking this important step we call for the full respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and for the legitimate concerns of all parties to be taken into account.  

I thank you.  

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