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Ukraine. Della Vedova at UN: those responsible for human rights violations must be punished

The Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Benedetto Della Vedova, spoke today at an event at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on the Russian attack on Ukraine. “We are shocked by what is happening in Ukraine at this time. We once again condemn the Russian military offensive. It is an outrageous violation of international law and of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine”, he said. “For this reason, Italy, which holds the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, has put forward the imitative to suspend the Russian Federation from the Organisation and has supported the decision to that effect. A decision that was adopted by a huge majority.

“This aggression is hitting densely populated areas and innocent and defenceless civilians in a truly horrible manner. We cannot turn our backs on this tragedy”, he continued. The Undersecretary underscored the catastrophic impact on human rights: “in just a few days hundreds of civilians, including children, have been killed and many others have been injured. In addition, there are already more than 420,000 refugees”.

“We stand by the Ukrainian people and urge the Russian Federation to fully comply with its international obligations in the area of human rights and humanitarian law and to immediately cease all military action. We also urge Russia to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access”, said the Undersecretary. Della Vedova went on to underline Italy’s solidarity with those Russians who are demonstrating against this aggression and are paying a price for their actions: “we commend your courage and your strength”.

The Undersecretary noted that Italy has co-sponsored a resolution that will be put forward by Ukraine with a view to setting up a commission of inquiry on international human rights and the violations and abuses of humanitarian law in Ukraine. Della Vedova then asked the Council for Human Rights to encourage all possible initiatives to punish those responsible for the violations that have been committed.