Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 17 December 2015
The Delegation of Ukraine warmly welcomes the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova back to the Permanent Council and thanks her for the comprehensive presentation.
Let me emphasise Ukraine’s strong support for the mandate of the OSCE SR/CTHB designed for assisting the participating States in the implementation of their commitments on combating human trafficking.
We commend the activities of the Special Representative undertaken during the reporting period to help preventing and combating THB in the OSCE region, including the 15th High-Level Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference.
We thank the Special Representative for her visits to Ukraine in 2015 to assist my country in duly addressing new challenges and threats related to THB stemming from the illegal and criminal activities of the Russia-backed militants in certain areas of Donbas, as well as of occupying authorities in Crimea.
We appreciate the Special Representative’s focused expert assistance to the comprehensive anti-trafficking response of the Ukrainian authorities, which contributed to strengthening the handling of THB-related challenges in the new realities of the external aggression, as well as raising awareness about human trafficking by intensifying outreach to the vulnerable groups, in particular the internally displaced persons.
In sharp contrast to the Government-controlled territories of the country, the twelfth report of the UN OHCHR on the situation of human rights in Ukraine describes persistent serious human rights violations and the rule of terror prevailing in the territories not controlled by the Government of Ukraine, including numerous cases of abduction of persons and exploitation of the local population by the illegal armed groups. Unacceptable human rights situation in these areas coupled with large segments of the border with the Russian Federation, not controlled by the Ukrainian borderguards, significantly multiply the risks of human trafficking. We encourage to carefully review these risks and develop possible responses.
A matter of Ukraine’s grave concern also remains the situation with the illegal adoption of orphans and children deprived of parental care, which are Ukrainian nationals and reside in the illegally occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, by the citizens of the Russian Federation and their consecutive illegal transfer into the territory of the Russian Federation in violation of the Ukrainian legislation and international law.
As these illegal actions place the children under a serious risk of human trafficking, we call on the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings to pay particular attention to and carefully consider this problem in light of the mandate as the core OSCE instrument on combating human trafficking.
Despite many security challenges, the Ukrainian Government is committed to further strengthening its activities to combat human trafficking in accordance with the relevant OSCE commitments and international standards.
My country is a party to all international treaties relating to the fight against human trafficking. We have developed a solid legislative foundation that is based on the human rights approach and focuses on protecting and restoring the rights of victims.
The THB issue is duly addressed by the National Human Rights Strategy of Ukraine, which aims at preventing and fighting against all forms of trafficking in human beings, ensuring effective investigation of crimes related to human trafficking, and improvement of victims’ care system.
Let me conclude by reiterating Ukraine’s strong commitment to the fight against human trafficking with the aim to effectively address this heinous crime that violates human dignity and undermines human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.