Tuesday, July 23

Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov during the high-level segment of the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council in the format of a videoconference

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Dear ladies and gentlemen,

I hoped that after a two-year break I would be able to take a personal part in the work of the UN Human Rights Council.

However, I have to address you in a video format. The reason is the outrageous measures of the European Union to refuse to respect one of the fundamental human rights – the right to freedom of movement. The EU members have chosen the path of unilateral illegitimate sanctions, using them to avoid a direct honest face-to-face dialogue, which they clearly fear.

The situation in the world is not getting easier, it is deteriorating before our eyes. The main reason is that the United States and its allies continue to aggressively impose the so-called “rules-based world order” on the rest of the participants in interstate communication. What this “order” turns out to be for human rights is clearly seen in the example of Ukraine.

It is the policy of the “collective West” led by Washington that has led to the fact that since 2014 the Kiev regime has been at war with its own people. With all those who disagree with the neo-Nazi “values of the Maidan”, with the criminal policy of the Ukrainian authorities, systematically violating basic human rights and the rights of national minorities, obligations undertaken within the framework of the UN and OSCE, and even the Constitution of their own country.

The ultranationalists and neo-Nazis who seized power in Kiev as a result of a Western-backed coup have unleashed a real terror. It is impossible to recall the terrible tragedy in Odessa on May 2, 2014 without a shudder. Then the participants of the peaceful action were burned alive in the House of Trade Unions. The perpetrators of this atrocity are known by name – they posed in front of video cameras, but have not yet been punished.

The mass graves found there are irrefutable proof of the criminal consequences of the massive shelling of civilian objects in Donbass. The forensic medical examination found that most of the victims were women and the elderly. Numerous facts of these blatant violations of the basic human right – the right to life – are simply ignored by our Western colleagues. Attempts to draw the attention of the HRC to the outrages that had been going on for 8 years ran into their indifference.

The Ukrainian regime has been pursuing a course of aggressive de-russification and forced assimilation all these years. People who consider themselves Russians and would like to preserve their identity, language, culture, are directly made to understand that they are strangers in Ukraine. V.A. Zelensky, calling them “individuals”, advised to get out to Russia. He initiated the adoption of the law on indigenous peoples, among whom there was no place for Russians living on these lands for centuries – quite in the spirit of the lawmaking of Nazi Germany. The Russian language is being expelled from schools and universities, from the public sphere, just from everyday life. There are often situations when you can pay for the right to speak your native language not only with work, health, but also with your life. Just imagine that Ireland banned English, Belgium – French, Italy – German. This is simply impossible to imagine. A frontal attack on the Russian language in Ukraine does not cause rejection in the enlightened West, and is even encouraged by some.

Any signs of dissent entail the most severe consequences. The process of “cleansing” the authorities of unwanted, disloyal employees has been put on a regular basis. The main “help” here is the law on lustration adopted by the Verkhovna Rada. Other legislative acts are also proliferating, allowing the regime’s power structures to harshly suppress dissent and persecute the opposition. The authorities are imposing bans on the work of TV channels and other media, and repressions are being carried out against their own citizens, including members of parliament. Isn’t this a violation of freedom of speech, the right to express one’s opinion?

The lies about the Second World War are shamelessly planted. Hitler’s local henchmen are declared heroes, and the real anti-Fascist heroes are forgotten. Monuments to the winners of fascism are being demolished. The war criminals who fought in the ranks of the Third Reich are glorified. A new manifestation of this course was the submission by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada on February 23 of this year of a bill on Ukraine’s withdrawal from the CIS Agreement on perpetuating the memory of the courage and heroism of peoples in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Against this background, the behavior of V.A. Zelensky looks like the height of blasphemy, who had the conscience to declare on the same day that he honors the memory of his grandfather, who fought in the ranks of the Red Army for the liberation of the Soviet Union and Europe from fascism.

The Kiev regime has invaded even such a sensitive, intimate sphere as the spiritual world of people. Discrimination on religious grounds is increasing. The former authorities headed by P.A. Poroshenko, with the support of Washington, carried out a church split, creating the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Laws have been initiated against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Churches belonging to her are being seized, millions of her parishioners and clergy are being persecuted. What is this but a violation of religious freedom?

All these massive, systemic attacks on rights and freedoms, the consistent imposition of neo-Nazism, are carried out with the open connivance of the United States, Canada, and the European Union countries, arrogantly declaring themselves the “standard of democracy.” The international human rights mechanisms of the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE have also come under their unceremonious pressure, which all these years could not find the courage to respond adequately to the blatant lawlessness in Ukraine.

The West began to turn a blind eye to what was happening in February 2014, when the radicals carried out an unconstitutional coup d’etat, breaking the agreement reached under EU guarantees with the then President of Ukraine. Russian Russian putschists who came to power proclaimed a course for an alliance with the West and immediately launched an offensive against the Russian language, set out to expel all Russians from Crimea, sent armed militants there. The eastern regions of Ukraine that did not accept the coup were accused of terrorism, although they did not attack anyone. On the contrary, punitive detachments were put forward against them, their cities were bombed with the help of aviation, artillery, multiple launch rocket systems. They destroyed civilian facilities, schools, hospitals. Civilians were killed. An inhumane economic, transport, and food blockade was imposed against Donbass. The Kiev regime got away with all this. At best, international structures were limited to sterile appeals to “both sides”.

It is clear that in these conditions, the residents of Crimea and Donbass simply had no other choice. In March 2014, the overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted – in full compliance with international law – for the peninsula’s entry into Russia. The realization of the right of peoples to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter allowed them to protect their right to life, to freely use their native language, to their traditions, their history and culture. For this, Kiev blocked the North Crimean Canal – the main source of fresh water for the inhabitants of the peninsula. Again, everyone remained silent, forgetting about the five international conventions that enshrine the human right to safe drinking water.

As for the residents of Donbass, after agreeing on the Minsk Package of Measures approved by the UN Security Council in February 2015, they hoped that they would be heard, that justice would prevail. That Kiev will enter into a dialogue with its citizens – Donetsk and Luhansk residents – and will begin to fulfill all other obligations under the Minsk agreements, which, however, he openly sabotaged with the direct support of the West, continuing armed provocations.

Recently, the criminal actions of the Ukrainian regime have sharply intensified. As a result, only since mid-February, more than one hundred thousand refugees from Donbass have found shelter in Russia. We have collected a solid evidence base of gross mass violations of human rights committed by the Kiev authorities. An online exhibition of documents and photographs exposing the atrocities of the Ukrainian military and neo-Nazi “volunteer” battalions has been launched on the website of the Russian Permanent Mission in Geneva. I urge all those who are committed to human rights to familiarize themselves with this exhibition in order to find out the truth that the Kiev regime, its patrons and most Western media are diligently trying to hide.

In the conditions of the grossest violation of the rights of Russians and Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine, the eight-year war unleashed against them with all the signs of genocide, the persistent refusal of the West to call the Ukrainian authorities to order and the absence of any reaction from the human rights structures of the UN, OSCE and COE, Russia could not remain indifferent to the fate of the four million Donbass. President Vladimir Putin decided to recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and, in response to the appeal of the leaders of the DPR and LPR, to launch a special military operation to protect their residents in accordance with the friendship and mutual assistance agreements concluded with these republics. The purpose of our actions is to save people by fulfilling our allied obligations, as well as the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, so that this will never happen again. This is especially relevant in the light of the country’s tightening into NATO, the pumping up of shock weapons by the current regime, which openly made territorial claims to the Russian Federation, threatened the use of force and the acquisition of military nuclear potential.

Regarding the campaign launched about the alleged violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the initiators of which show complete indifference and contempt for the violation of human rights, I would like to draw attention to the 1970 Declaration on the Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation between States in Accordance with the UN Charter. This document, approved by a consensus resolution of the UN General Assembly, stipulates that the principle of respect for territorial integrity is applicable to “States that observe in their actions the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples (…) and, consequently, have governments representing, without distinction of race, religion or skin color, all the people living in this territory.” The Kiev neo-Nazi government obviously was not and is not such in relation to the peoples of Ukraine.

The United States and its allies, directly responsible for numerous violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, guilty of crimes that have killed hundreds of thousands of ordinary people in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, once again demonstrate “double” standards. The current Kiev regime is a vivid example of the fact that when you are a loyal vassal of the hegemon and participate with special zeal in serving his policy of deterring Russia, everything is allowed to you. You can trample on any human rights, freedoms, just kill people, cultivate neo-Nazi traditions and orders. In exchange for your unquestioning loyalty and obedience, the “civilized” West will turn a blind eye to all this. Moreover, the other day the European Union in a Russophobic frenzy decided to supply Kiev with lethal weapons. For us, the life of every Russian or Ukrainian, Donetsk or Luhansk citizen is no less valuable than the life of a European or an American.

As President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stressed, we always respect the Ukrainian people, their language and traditions. We do not intend to infringe in any way on the interests of the citizens of Ukraine, with whom we are united not only by a common history, civilizational, spiritual, cultural kinship, but also by blood and family ties. Millions of natives of Ukraine live in Russia today. For us, they are our own. Together we have always been and will be many times stronger and more successful.

The main thing is to stop the attempts of the temporary workers who illegally seized power to betray the fundamental interests of the Ukrainian people and pursue a course for the sake of the West to turn their country into an “anti-Russia” as the meaning of their existence. The real hysteria observed in NATO and the EU today only confirms that the creation of an “anti-Russia” was and remains the goal of the United States and all its allies built by Washington.

As you know, at the request of V.A. Zelensky, negotiations between representatives of Russia and the delegation of Kiev began. I hope that the Ukrainian side is aware of the seriousness of the situation and its responsibility, is aware of the need to show independence and ability to negotiate and avoid repeating the history of the Minsk agreements.

I would like to conclude my speech with a reminder that human rights are a universal constant. It cannot depend on the selfish ambitions of a “narrow circle of the elect” who seek to rewrite the Universal Declaration of 1948, distort in their own way and substitute their own “rules” for the consensus reached at that time, which underlies all our collective work. The role of the UN Human Rights Council is to ensure adherence to our common and not someone else’s narrow values, to promote mutually respectful discussions without any politicization and double standards, to prevent the use of human rights issues for interference in internal affairs.

Only such an approach should be guided, seeking justice in any issues affecting the key interests of people, their fundamental rights: whether it is a shameful institution of statelessness for Europe, a growing movement in favor of the revival of Nazism, or the obsession of the West with the policy of illegal unilateral sanctions, the focus of which on ordinary people no one is trying to hide. These illegal restrictions are no longer limited to financial and economic prohibitions. They apply to cultural, sports, tourism, educational, information spheres and, in general, to all contacts between people. The West clearly lost control of itself in an effort to thwart anger at Russia, went to the destruction of all the institutions and rules created by it, including the inviolability of property.

The arrogant philosophy of the West, based on a sense of its own superiority, exclusivity and permissiveness, must be put to an end. The sovereign equality of States is a key principle of the UN Charter. It fully applies to the work of the HRC. Russia is always open to an equal, mutually respectful discussion on any issues, ready to find a fair balance of interests.

Source: https://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1802169/

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