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General Assembly – Eleventh Emergency Special Session in Plenary Meeting

Statement delivered by Italy at the Eleventh Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly in Plenary Meeting on the adoption of Resolution “Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council” —

Mr. President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered/ by the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in its national capacity.

The horrifying images of civilians brutally killed and lying dead in the streets or in improvised mass graves in the Ukrainian town of Bucha – an area which was under the control of the Russian forces – shocked the world. Sadly, these horrors added on to the already gruesome depiction of the human rights situation in Ukraine, in the context of the Russian aggression, provided by the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, last March 26th. The testimony of rapes and sexual violence by Russian troops that are now emerging – against women, children, and older persons – are also utterly disturbing.

Against this background, the High Commissioner for Human Rights has spoken of possible war crimes, grave breaches of international humanitarian law and serious violations of international human rights law being committed in Ukraine. The Secretary General called for an independent investigation to guarantee effective accountability.

This situation provided abounded ground to take immediate action.

For this reason, a cross-regional group of UN Member States, including all EU Members, requested the reconvening of the Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, and tabled a resolution for the suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council.

We strongly welcome the adoption of such resolution, adopted by the General Assembly with a clear majority and we thank all the Member States that contributed to that result.

The suspension of the Russian Federation was necessary to uphold the integrity of the Human Rights Council, to reaffirm the authority of the General Assembly and of the UN System, and to send the clear message that gross and systematic violations of human rights cannot be tolerated anywhere in the world. Accountability must also be ensured for the individual perpetrators of such violations, to avoid any form of impunity.

While reaffirming its condemnation of the Russian aggression, Italy reiterates its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of the Russian military forces from the international recognized borders of Ukraine and the return to a negotiating path. We also reaffirm our heartfelt solidarity with Ukraine and its people and mourn all the victims of this senseless war.

I thank you, Mr. President.