Hours before the first anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 141 of 193 United Nations member states have passed a resolution calling for an immediate Russian troop withdrawal and a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in Ukraine. Seven states voted Thursday against the resolution text at a special session of the UN General Assembly (UN-GA): Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, Syria and Russia. 32 countries abstained, including China, India, South Africa and Iran.
The UN-GA reiterated its demand that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and calls for a cessation of hostilities”.
The resolution expressed strong support for the efforts of the Secretary-General and Member States to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, consistent with the UN Charter, including the principles of sovereign equality and territorial integrity of states. It also called on Member States and international organizations to redouble support for diplomatic efforts towards this end.
While deploring the dire human rights and humanitarian consequences of the aggression by Russia against Ukraine, including the continuous attacks against critical infrastructure across Ukraine with devastating consequences for civilians, the General Assembly expressed grave concern at the high number of civilian casualties, including women and children, the number of internally displaced persons and refugees in need of humanitarian assistance, and violations and abuses committed against children.
The resolution called for full adherence by the warring parties to their obligations under international humanitarian law to take constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian objects, to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need, and to refrain from attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.
The General Assembly also called for an immediate cessation of the attacks on the critical infrastructure of Ukraine and any deliberate attacks on civilian objects, including those that are residences, schools and hospitals.
Five other resolutions have been adopted in the U.N. General Assembly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, all with strong support.
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine deteriorated rapidly in 2022, after the Russian Federation’s invasion escalated eight years of conflict in the east into a full-scale war. The devastation and destruction have been staggering, with some 40 per cent of Ukraine’s population now in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. At least 17.6 million people in Ukraine require humanitarian assistance this year. Among them are 5.5 million children.
The war has also forced many to flee Ukraine, resulting in a humanitarian crisis of a scale not witnessed in Europe for decades. The war in Ukraine has led to one of the two major displacement crises in the world - the other being the Syrian civil war - with more than 13.9 million people fleeing their homes. More than 8 million refugees have sought refuge in foreign countries. At least 5.9 million people are displaced within Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created one of the largest humanitarian disasters globally. Violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law occurring in the course of the ongoing armed attack are widespread. Millions of civilians fear for their lives. People in Ukraine continue to be killed, wounded and deeply traumatized by the violence.
Since Russian forces attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 21,293 civilian casualties, including 8,006 killed and 13,287 injured — among them many women and children. The UN Human Rights Office believes that the actual figures are considerably higher.
Full text: UN General Assembly Resolution, A/RES/ES-11/6, adopted on February 23, 2023