Statement on evacuation extraction procedure from Azovstal and Mariupol

May 12, 2022

At the 34th Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on 12 May, Dr Kateryna Bondar delivered the statement on behalf of WFUWO, calling for evacuation extraction procedure from Azovstal and Mariupol.

In the Resolution on the Deteriorating Human Rights Situation in Ukraine Stemming from the Russian Aggression, adopted at this session, the HRC reiterated its demand for an immediate cessation of military hostilities against Ukraine. It urged the Russian Federation to provide international institutions with access to persons who have been transferred from Ukraine to the territory of the Russian Federation or occupied territories, and to share a comprehensive list of such persons and their whereabouts.

The HRC requested the Commission of Inquiry to brief on the progress of an inquiry into the events in the areas of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions in late February / March 2022, including their gender dimension, at the next sessions, with a view to hold to account those responsible; and requested the High Commissioner to present an oral update on the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in Mariupol at the June session.

The full text of the WFUWO’s statement:

Mr President,
Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine has resulted in large-scale atrocities, war crimes and human rights violations by the Russian army, including summary executions, torture, sexual violence, and forcible deportation to the Russian Federation and occupied territories. The humanitarian situation in Mariupol (a city of more than 400,000 people) is worse than critical — the city is completely destroyed and has been turned into a mass grave for the tens of thousands of civilians killed by the Russian aggressors. The Russian army has violated basic rules of international humanitarian law by purposely shelling civilians, using forbidden weapons, and blocking or violating evacuation corridors.

The Azovstal plant where thousands of civilians found shelter has been under constant attack by the Russian forces. Even during the few opportunities of evacuation offered to the trapped civilians, Ukrainian soldiers have been fired upon. There are more than 600 gravely injured servicemen still in Azovstal and they require urgent medical assistance. People are dying because of lack of food, water and medicine, and because the dire conditions in Azovstal are aggravating the severity of their injuries.

We call on the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the proposed resolution and closely monitor the situation in Mariupol. We call on the UN and the international community to ensure an urgent ceasefire, to initiate an evacuation extraction procedure from Azovstal and Mariupol. It is imperative to guarantee safe humanitarian corridors and maritime evacuation of all civilians and Ukrainian servicemen trapped there, as well as all the bodies of those who have died, to make sure that they are taken to territory controlled by the Ukrainian government or to a third intermediary state. Thank you.