Media Statement

24 March 2022

South Africa calls for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and dialogue, mediation and diplomacy to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the UN General Assembly

Today, the United Nations General Assembly considered resolutions on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

South Africa’s approach has been that in the current context of the conflict in Ukraine, it is necessary for the United Nations to adopt a resolution on the humanitarian situation affecting the people of Ukraine that is based on the principles that govern humanitarian assistance, namely, humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. These principles provide the foundations for humanitarian action and are central to establishing and maintaining access to those affected. An important aspect of this resolution must be to express concern at the humanitarian situation and call on all parties to abide by international humanitarian law.

South Africa abstained from a resolution that made the attainment of a General Assembly consensus difficult. At this stage, it remains imperative that all parties to the conflict are committed to humanitarian principles and a UN humanitarian response and be part of an outcome that we adopt.

It is for this reason that South Africa saw the need to put forward alternative text which focussed specifically on the humanitarian plight of those affected. South Africa called for a UN outcome that will first and foremost focus on calling for the cessation of hostilities as the first step towards ameliorating the humanitarian situation. It is also important for all parties to abide by international humanitarian law as well as all protocols of the Geneva Conventions. It remains pivotal that aside from addressing the humanitarian needs of the people it must also lay the foundation for the parties to engage in constructive and meaningful dialogue.

South Africa remains steadfast that an atmosphere of dialogue, mediation and diplomacy is the only path to de-escalate the current conflict. In this regard, we reiterate our call for the Good Offices of the United Nations to mediate in pursuit of finding a sustainable solution and for us as member states to facilitate an enabling environment for dialogue.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, ‪082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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