|Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Issue of Children and Education in Ukraine|
I thank Assistant Secretary-General Joyce Msuya and Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi for their briefings.
The conflict in Ukraine is inflicting on children pains foreign to their age. Protecting children from harm is an obligation under international law that must be fulfilled by parties to the conflict. China reiterates its call for securing children and the civilian infrastructure on which they depend, and to give priority to children in evacuation and humanitarian relief operations.
We welcome the safe evacuation of civilians, including children, trapped in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol under the coordination of the UN and the ICRC, and hope that Russia and Ukraine will continue to maintain coordination on humanitarian issues, and make every effort to reduce the humanitarian impact of the conflict.
The attack on a school in Bilohorivka on May 7 resulted in the loss of many lives. Incidents as such are deplorable. Schools should not be targeted or used for military purposes. The related circumstances and specific causes should be verified and established. Any accusations should be based on facts.
The conflict has been going on for more than two months, and has uprooted more than half of the Ukrainian children. Millions of children have taken refuge in neighboring countries. China appreciates the safe shelter, humanitarian assistance, and psychological support provided by Ukraine and neighboring countries, as well as OCHA, UNICEF, and other humanitarian agencies for children who seek refuge. China calls on the international community to continue to step up relief efforts to ensure that every child in need can receive effective assistance.
The risk of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse faced by children seeking refuge, especially those separated or unaccompanied, is worrying. China calls on UNICEF, UNHCR, UNODC, OHCHR, and other agencies to strengthen monitoring, and support relevant countries in taking measures to prevent and eliminate violations against children.
WHO’s warnings about disruptions in routine immunization for children and the rising risk of outbreaks of epidemics such as measles should be taken seriously. China supports WHO in cooperating with Ukraine and the countries concerned to ensure that children can receive vaccinations on time.
Education gives hope to children in conflict, and also bears on the future of Ukraine. China supports UNICEF in helping the Ukrainian Government to provide educational supplies and learning opportunities for internally displaced children, and encourages host countries to integrate refugee children into their own education systems, in order to ensure that children’s right to education is not disrupted.
Achieving peace is the best protection for children. Dialogue and negotiation is the most realistic and feasible way to reach a ceasefire. The international community should encourage Russia and Ukraine to return to the negotiation track, and keep accumulating political conditions for the restoration of peace. China welcomes the presidential statement adopted by the Security Council last week on Ukraine, calling for the peaceful settlement of international disputes and supporting the Secretary-General’s efforts to promote peace.
Sanctions will not bring peace, but will only accelerate the spillover of the crisis, triggering sweeping food, energy, and financial crises across the globe, and making children around the world suffer the bitter consequences. Children living in conflict situations in Afghanistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, as well as the Sahel region are bearing the brunt of the humanitarian impact. China once again calls on all parties to stay rational and exercise restraint, transcend prejudice and strife, and make unremitting efforts for the early resolution of the crisis in Ukraine and for children to enjoy a peaceful future.
Thank you, Mr. President.