Olena Bogdan addressed the UN Forum on Minority Issues

Olena Bogdan, Head of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic and Religious Affairs, addressed the Human Rights Council Forum on Minority Issues on December 2, 2022. The Forum marks the 30th anniversary of adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

Tragically, this year became a witness to cynical abuse of the concepts, ideas, and values enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. And tragically, currently there is no UN mechanism of penalty for such blatant abuse. This is a serious gap with grave consequences which needs to be filled. We should remember that impunity brings greater crimes.

Article 8, Clause 4 stipulates that nothing in the present Declaration may be construed as permitting any activity contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, including sovereign equality, territorial integrity and political independence of States.

Nevertheless, the Russian Federation dared to claim the defense of national minorities as a cynical attempt to justify its unjustified attempted invasion of Ukraine.

While claiming the defense of Russian speaking people, Russian troops killed in horrific numbers the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine in the East and South of our country and took away Ukrainian children for adoption in Russia. These children had parents before Russia attacked full scale.

While claiming the defense of the Moscow Patriarchate affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Russian missiles destroyed its temples and killed its parishioners. There are at least 142 buildings of this Church ruined by the Russian attack. We maintain a transparent list. We can name every single one of them. This is what so called “Russian protection” and “liberation” are like. 

Unique cultures of Ukraine lost their home in Mariupol and its nearby region. Mariupol was fully destroyed by the Russian attack. For example, the unique Greek cultures of Ukraine ‒ Urums and Rumeans – had their home exactly where Russian troops left everything in ruins.

I shall stress once again: impunity brings greater crimes. Therefore, it is important to develop sufficient mechanisms of response in the United Nations to address blatant violations of the Declaration values and principles. 

As we are speaking in this Forum, people in Ukraine are being bombed, wounded and killed, their homes are being destroyed. And this is done with blatant lies about minority protection.