Joint statement on the Occasion of the 77th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War in Europe
The following is a joint statement by Permanent Missions of Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the EU.
On 8 May the nations across the globe commemorate the victory over Nazism. On the day of the end of the Second World War in Europe we also pay tribute to millions of heroes and victims who did not live to see Victory Day.
We couple our tribute to the heroes and victims of the Second World War with a strong condemnation of Nazi totalitarian regime, along with its inhumanity, aggression, dictatorship, and repression. Starting with aggressive propaganda and inciting hatred towards other peoples the Nazi regime unleashed the bloodiest war in the human history. We also remember that for many European countries the end of the Second World War did not bring freedom but rather more oppression resulting in repressive policies, continuous violations and abuses of human rights, and more crimes against humanity inspired by totalitarian ideologies.
For many decades after the international community has worked to maintain and strengthen international peace founded upon freedom, equality, justice and respect for human rights and to develop friendly relations among nations irrespective of their political, economic, and social systems or the levels of their development.
The United Nations as a notion and an aspiration was born out of the flames of the war 80 years ago with the signing of the 1942 Declaration by the United Nations with a commitment “to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world.”
The United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. It is alarming that today a full-fledged war of aggression and a resulting refugee and humanitarian catastrophe have come back to Europe. Since 24 February, 2022, when the Russian Federation launched a new wave of aggression against Ukraine, the realities on the ground have revived the memories of atrocities from the Second World War. The impacts of Russia’s further invasion have been dire, not only for the people of Ukraine but for people around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms possible the violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, any attacks directed against civilians as such and other protected persons and civilian objects, and demand full respect for and protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population and civilian infrastructure.
Against this backdrop we witness cynical attempts to appropriate and exploit the memory of the victory over Nazism and to use it for justifying this full-scale invasion of Ukraine. We strongly reject Russia´s continued efforts to distort history for its own political purposes to promote a false narrative and disinformation on neighboring countries, including by inciting hatred by labeling others as “neo-fascists” and “neo-Nazis.”
We must not forget the heroism demonstrated in the struggle for the liberation of Europe. We must honor and safeguard our shared history as well as international law, including the UN Charter. We must continue upholding peace and security, defending human rights, fundamental freedoms, the rule of law as well as strongly condemning Nazism, neo-Nazism, antisemitism, anti-Roma racism, and other forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. We must not allow the rule of law to be replaced by the rule of force and we must counter any attempts to change by force the internationally recognized borders of sovereign states – a lesson drawn from the history of the Second World War.