Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1135th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 2 March 2017
The Delegation of Ukraine warmly welcomes UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Volker Türk to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his comprehensive statement and insights concerning the regional and global challenges in the sphere of migration.
At the outset, we wish to express high appreciation of the co-operation established between Ukraine and UNHCR in addressing the significant challenges of forced displacement of people in my country. As pointed out by Assistant High Commissioner, among 10 million persons of UNHCR’s concern within the OSCE area - more than a quarter or 2.8 million are internally displaced persons. In Ukraine about 1.7 million of people have been registered as IDPs (nearly 4% of population of the country). They fled to the Government-controlled areas of Ukraine from violence and gross human rights violations in the temporarily occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol and Donbas. The plight of these people underscores only one aspect of severe human rights and humanitarian consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its flagrant violation of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. The forced displacement of such a high number of people within a short period of time created significant demands on the national government, the local authorities and communities to accommodate the needs of the IDPs. Much has been accomplished by the authorities, but many challenges remain. It will remain important to maintain strong engagement of the international community to help cope with these challenges.
Although globally, according to the UNHCR, IDPs constitute almost two thirds or 41 mln of all people on the move, respective international mechanisms and strategies on protection and assistance for IDPs remain underdeveloped. We believe that there is a need for a holistic approach and effective response to challenges to protect these people and their human dignity, especially those multiply affected: women, girls, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, migrants, IDPs.
In this connection we strongly encourage the use of the OSCE as a platform for launching a meaningful discussion on elaboration of a comprehensive international instrument to deal with the protection of rights of the IDPs. The UNHCR could become an important partner in such endeavour.
We look forward to constructive engagement with the OSCE Chairmanship, the Chair of the Human Dimension Committee and all participating States in an effort to strengthen the OSCE capabilities of effective response, in partnership with other stakeholders, to the challenges of IDPs.
In conclusion, we again thank UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Volker Türk for being with us today and wish him every success in his future activities.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.