EU Statement regarding Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine

The Member States of the European Union at UNESCO condemn in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.

Russia’s illegal military actions grossly violate international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter and undermine European and global security and stability. Russia bears full responsibility for this act of aggression. We demand that Russia immediately ceases its military action and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.
The EU stands in solidarity with the women, men, and children whose lives are being affected by this unjustified and unjustifiable attack.

We urge UNESCO to take a firm stance on the situation in Ukraine and to take action against all Russian violations within the range of its mandate. The purpose of the UNESCO is, according to it’s Constitution, to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.

UNESCO has a core mandate to work for the safety of journalists, media workers, and associated personnel, to promote the right to and access to information, the right to education and cultural life, as well as access to science and research. Due to Russia´s aggression, thousands of children in Ukraine are deprived of access to education. Countering the Russian disinformation campaign must be at the centre of our common efforts.

We urge the Russian Federation to respect international humanitarian law, international human rights law. Moreover, we urge the Russian Federation to ensure that cultural heritage in Ukraine does not suffer any destruction or damage by fully respecting the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two (1954 and 1999) Protocols, as well as the 1972 World Heritage Convention.

On every occasion, we quote the Constitution of UNESCO that says: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”. Now more than ever it is the time that we all take these words at heart!

Official Press Release here.