Statement by the UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator Osnat Lubrani, on behalf of the United Nations in Ukraine
04 April 2022
We are all devastated by the images of people who have been killed and reports of horrifying violence against civilian men, women and children in Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel near Kyiv and in other parts of Ukraine where they are caught in the hostilities. We echo the call of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, for an immediate ceasefire and an independent investigation leading to effective accountability.
These disturbing reports and videos clearly raise questions about grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. It is essential that all reports of violence against civilians are independently verified: the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine is trying to visit these locations without delay. Anyone who has been engaged in violence against civilians must be held to account under international human rights and humanitarian law. An independent investigation is critical to determine the extent of these crimes and to ensure that the perpetrators are held to account.
The protection of civilians is a bedrock of the commitments by all Member States of the United Nations to people around the world. And in times of war there are further commitments, agreed by the international community under the Geneva Conventions. We will continue to closely monitor and report on attacks on schools, hospitals, medical workers and other civilian infrastructure, on the use of heavy weapons in residential areas and on the denial of humanitarian access.
Ukrainians have been enduring the living hell of war for more than a month. Thousands of civilians have died and many more children, women, elderly and people with disabilities are trapped by constant shelling, mined roads, without food, water or safe exit from besieged cities. We call for humanitarian pauses, for civilians to safely leave and so that we and our humanitarian partners can bring them life-saving relief supplies.
We continue to call for a ceasefire and peace in Ukraine. We know that words alone cannot comfort the loss of loved ones or replace action. This deadly war needs to stop: that is the only way to end this pointless loss of life and suffering.