Joint Statement of the UN Commission on the Status of Women on the Situation of Women and Girls as a Result of Russian Aggression Against Ukraine

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
March 25, 2022

Joint Statement of the UN Commission on the Status of Women on the Situation of Women and Girls as a Result of Russian Aggression Against Ukraine

The following is a joint statement delivered by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, on behalf of the United States, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the European Union.

We come together at the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York to condemn the unprovoked Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. These actions are in grave violation of international law, including the principles of the UN Charter and we urge the Russian Federation, in line with Resolution ES-11/1 of 2 March 2022, to immediately stop its aggression and withdraw its forces from Ukraine, a sovereign state. We also condemn the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine. We reaffirm our full support to Ukraine and its people, in particular to all women and girls.

Given that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine results in a significant human rights and humanitarian crisis on the civilian population, particularly on the lives and livelihoods of women and girls – a pattern in all armed conflicts – we are deeply concerned for the safety of civilians in Ukraine, including women and girls.

We strongly condemn unlawful attacks by the Russian armed forces on civilian facilities, including schools, orphanages, and hospitals, in particular the Russia’ air raid on the children’s and maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol, and of civilian casualties, including pregnant women, older persons, persons with disabilities, and children.

We are gravely concerned about depriving civilians of access to education and essential health services.

We are deeply worried about the continuing deterioration of all aspects of the situation of all women and girls, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, older women, HIV-positive, indigenous women and girls, and women and girls with disabilities, who are facing increased vulnerability due to the further aggression of the Russian Federation forces.

We are gravely concerned about the increased risks of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse, and discrimination that Ukrainian women and girls are facing, especially in the areas of Ukraine controlled by the Russian Federation as a result of Russia’s aggression. In this regard we are appalled by reports of alleged sexual violence perpetrated by Russia’s forces.

We are also deeply worried about the short- and long-term impact of family separations on women and girls, especially as women are forced to take on additional household duties and other responsibilities as their spouses stay to fight Russia’s invading forces and large numbers of girls are separated from their parents or travel unaccompanied.

We also concerned about the additional risks of exploitation and abuse for women fleeing the conflict.

We commend the courage of the local civil society organizations, including those led by women, in responding to the humanitarian needs despite the risks they are facing. We must also ensure that civil society groups, including women’s movements and women’s rights organizations on the ground have the resources to play a decisive role in meeting the rights and needs of women and girls and shaping gender-responsive solutions.

We call for the protection of civilians, safety, and security of humanitarian workers, as well as safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.

We are committed to work together with the United Nations Secretary-General, UN Women, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) and for United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and other relevant United Nations agencies or entities as well as ICRC, to integrate a gender-responsive approach the full, effective and meaningful participation of women at all levels in all our efforts to respond to the conflict in Ukraine: the immediate humanitarian response, the crisis response, and the longer-term peace and security efforts.

To conclude, we echo the calls by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous, and Special Representative Pramila Patten to stop this war and commit to do the utmost to keep the leadership and rights of women and girls in Ukraine at the center of our collective efforts to mobilize for peace.