Statement by Albania at the meeting of the Permanent Council as delivered by Ambassador Eglantina Gjermeni on the Russian Federation’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine Thursday, 23 June 2022, Vienna

Thank you, Mr. Chair,
Albania reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine. This war continues to cause immense suffering, daily loss of civilian lives, including of children, destruction of civilian infrastructure, mass forced deportations, conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, and a humanitarian, economic and food crisis that is being felt in Ukraine, in the region, and beyond.
Ukrainian women and girls are facing today most likely the biggest challenge of their lives. Unlawful attacks on civilian facilities, including schools and hospitals, are depriving them of access to education and essential health services, including sexual and reproductive health care services. Ukrainian women and girls who are forced to flee their homes find themselves in situations that exacerbate inequality and vulnerability, in the face of sexual and gender-based violence.
As we marked on Sunday the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we again condemn the continued reports of sexual violence, including rape and torture, perpetrated by the Russian military in Ukraine. These crimes need to be fully documented and properly investigated. Time is of the essence to that end and we must act swiftly. Those responsible must be held accountable. The message should be one and clear: no one who has promoted, has used, or has planned the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war will escape justice. We highlight the importance of the invocation of the Moscow Mechanism to address the human rights and humanitarian impacts of Russia’s invasion and acts of war against Ukraine, which will follow up and build upon the findings of the Moscow Mechanism Report of April.
We also admire the resolve and strength of women in Ukraine, displayed daily. We see how they are playing a vital role in the humanitarian response, and we stress the importance of ensuring their full and meaningful involvement in conflict resolution and peace-building processes. Last week, Albania organized in the UN Security Council an open debate on the role of regional organizations in implementing Women, Peace and Security in the face of political turmoil and seizures of power by force, chaired by Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, Olta Xhaçka. We thank OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid for sharing her valuable insights with the Security Council on that occasion. We also praise her tireless and effective efforts in advancing the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda by the OSCE.
We welcome the Ukrainian Parliament’s ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, consolidating thus Ukraine’s longstanding commitment in this regard. This is a big step toward protecting women and girls from all forms of violence, in Ukraine or abroad, especially at this time of conflict, when women and girls are particularly vulnerable. We commend also the work done by the Project Coordinator in Ukraine to promote gender equality and combat gender-based violence. We shall hear from Ambassador Villadsen shortly, but I would like to express already our regret for Russia’s declared objection to the renewal of the PCU mandate, thus depriving our Organization and Ukraine of another important instrument. 
Albanians will continue to stand with Ukraine, as reinforced also by Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama when he visited Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine last week. We will be there to sustain the process of accountability in relation to Ukraine, until the end. Thank you!


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