Sierra Leone Statement on the Maintenance of Peace and Security of Ukraine

Mr. President,

I thank you for convening this meeting at the request of Ecuador and France.

Let me also thank Ms. Rosemary Anne DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peace Building Affairs,and Ms. Edem Wosornu,Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Advocacy Director for their important briefings, which we found most useful.

Mr. President,

Sierra Leone first expressed its principled view on the conflict in Ukraine in the explanation of position after the vote on agenda item “A/ES-11/2” during the 11th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly convened under the “Uniting for Peace” resolution (377 A (V) adopted by the General Assembly on 3 November 1950) on 28 February 2022.

Sierra Leone expressed grave “concerned about the regrettable serious situation created in Ukraine, with ramifications for international peace and security”. Sierra Leone acted based on “our fundamental belief in the sanctity of the United Nations Charter, its principles, and the purposes of the Organization”. 

We underscored that our action was not an endorsement of “a selective application of our fundamental belief in the principles of sovereign equality of all UN Member States, territorial integrity or political independence of Member States, non-interference, and the peaceful settlement of disputes”.  It was also not meant “to absolve the actions and inactions of the United Nations, particularly in addressing peace and security questions in Africa”.

We expressed the firm belief that there must be consistency in the application of the UN Charter in pursuit of its purposes, and resorting to the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of any Member State inconsistent with the Charter cannot be accepted.

Sierra Leone accordingly called for “the full respect of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders”. We also called for “the immediate cessation of the hostilities”, and “urge for good faith diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict”.

Mr. President,

It has been 23 months since the start of the conflict, which has witnessed massive civilian casualties, the displacement of millions of civilians, vulnerable groups, including children. The Security Council has been unable to act on this conflict because of the use of the veto, a scenario which implicates article 27 paragraph 3 of the United Nations Charter. It also validates the prevalent view on the use of the veto to further interests instead of the collective responsibility to maintain international peace and security. 

Sierra Leone has been consistent in expressing commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and respect for its principles and international law, including the principles of sovereign equality of all United Nations Member States, the territorial integrity or political independence of Member states, non-interference, and peaceful settlement of disputes. 

It is against this background, that we express serious concern about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Ukraine which is a threat to life, peace, stability, and prosperity of not only the Ukrainian and Russian people who are directly affected but also the entire region.

We are also seriously concerned about the humanitarian crisis, which continues to inflict widespread devastation and hardship on particularly the Ukrainian population. According to OCHA, over 14.6 million people – about 40 per cent of the Ukrainian population living in Ukraine – will need humanitarian assistance in 2024.

Mr. President,

Sierra Leone is further deeply concerned that in absence of due compliance with international humanitarian law, the prevailing concerning humanitarian situation could further deteriorate if attacks on energy and other critical infrastructure increase during the winter. The prolonged effects of the war will continue to exacerbate the already dire and fragile humanitarian conditions of vulnerable people, who will require sustained support to ensure they can meet their vital needs. Women and Children, as it is with most conflicts, continue to be affected due to loss of income, family separation, and disruption in the provision of essential services, including education.

In light of the above, Sierra Leone calls on the parties to the conflict to:

Firstly, avoid the use of air missiles and drones targeting civilians and civilian objects, especially objects that supply essential services like hospitals, water and electricity. They must ensure that civilians, including women and children, and civilian objects are protected from harm and grave violations, which is a fundamental principle under international law, including international humanitarian law.

Secondly, we call for the sustained efforts of regional and international partners to scale up critical aid needed to cover the basic needs of the affected population across Ukraine.

Thirdly, we would like to emphasize that conflict only breeds destruction, suffering, and the loss of lives.  To minimize this, we urge all parties to the conflict to resolve this matter through a political and diplomatic engagement that will lead to durable peace and sanity in the region. 

Finally, and now in the Security Council, Sierra Leone reiterates its call for the full respect of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders; and for the immediate cessation of the hostilities. We urge for good faith diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, which includes giving due consideration to the legitimate concerns of the involved parties.

Let me conclude by emphasizing the importance of addressing the urgent humanitarian crisis, defending the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and emphasizing the importance of equality, equity, and consistency in application of international law.

I thank you.

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