The human cost of the conflict in Ukraine is growing, the UN political chief told the Security Council on Tuesday, during a briefing on the current situation in the country.
DiCarlo’s briefing to the Council was delivered just days before Ukrainians vote in parliamentary elections on July 21. The Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs expressed her hope that the poll will be “peaceful and democratic”, and inclusive, reflecting the “broadest participation of women”.
However, the current political transition takes place against the backdrop of ongoing conflict in the eastern Donbas region of the country, said Ms. DiCarlo, posing serious daily challenges for those who live in the area.
Despite some progress by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine – which consists of representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – in improving the security and humanitarian situation, attempts to reach agreement on a ceasefire have persistently failed, said the peacebuilding chief.
Civilians face indiscriminate shelling on a daily basis, and the threat of landmines. As of June 30, said Ms. DiCarlo, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) had recorded 91 conflict-related civilian casualties, including 13 deaths.
Ukraine should ‘ensure protection of rights of minorities
The Security Council briefing coincided with new legislation coming into force in Ukraine, which regulates Ukrainian as the sole State language, which means that it must be used in the public sector, including many Government functions and services.
The law, said Ms. DiCarlo, raises concerns, and she welcomed a statement from the President of Ukraine, announcing a thorough analysis of the legislation.
The Under-Secretary-General noted that OHCHR has recommended that the Ukrainian Government should enact further legislation that protects the rights of national minorities in the country.
Describing the regional and global environment as “increasingly fragile”, the Under-Secretary-General declared that the opportunity for a resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine is also “a chance to achieve greater peace and security in Europe”.