Statement by H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Youth, Peace and Security

Statement by H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Youth, Peace and Security

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Ukraine aligns itself with the statement delivered by the EU. In my national capacity, I would like to add the following.

Mr. President,

I would like to express our appreciation for your initiative to hold this open debate on the issue of youth, peace and security. I also thank Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Youth Ms. Jayathama Wickramanayake for her briefing as well as the keynote speakers for their inputs.

Mr. President,

Two years ago the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2250 recognizing that the energy and creativity of young people should be harnessed and actively engaged in shaping lasting peace, as well as contributing to justice and reconciliation.

We highly appreciate the work being done by the team of Mr. Graeme Simpson and welcome the Progress study prepared by its members in response to the abovementioned resolution. I would like to assure you, distinguished colleagues, that the Ukrainian Government is carefully studying the recommendations contained in this report and will consider them in the process of further adjustment of its national youth policy.

Unfortunately, we have to admit and agree with the conclusion of the Study, that many young people all around the world “are frustrated by the tendency of their Governments and international actors to treat youth as a problem to be solved, instead of as partners of peace”. And it shall be one of our priorities to address this challenge to contribute to the international peace and security.

We firmly believe that 1.8 billion young people around the world can play a crucial role in building a more peaceful world compared to what we have right now.

This can be achieved through ensuring inclusiveness of youth policies aimed at seamless social integration and accommodation of young people’s positive and creative potential for the benefit of the society.

Mr. President,

We shall continue to pay special attention through UN programmes and special procedures to youth. Being our future, youth while actively contributing to peace and security through participation in PKO’s, just look at the average age of the blue helmet personnel, at the same time suffering most from political and man-made disasters, especially women and children.

I should like to highlight that youth is among those who suffered most in Ukraine from the Russian aggression in Crimea and Donbass. Young people in those areas lost their chances to receive quality education and work; more than 60% of IDP’s are young women.

Nevertheless, tens of thousands of young people actively volunteered in providing support to our armed forces in the fight to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

Youth and student organizations became equally active in delivering aid and humanitarian assistance to the people affected by the ensuing hostilities.

Repeatedly my delegation urges the Russian Federation to accept its international legal responsibility and demands the termination of its wrongful acts in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, city of Sevastopol and certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

As an example, according the latest Report of the OHCHR on the human rights situation in Ukraine, which was released a month ago: “The Russian Federation continued to compel Crimean residents into its armed forces, conscripting at least 4,800 men within two campaigns in 2017, in violation of international humanitarian law”, moreover “courts in Crimea started to hear cases on charges of draft evasion”.

Therefore, we demand from the Russian Federation to stop this illegal practice of conscription of young men at the occupied territories and to respect its obligations according to the international humanitarian law as an occupying power.

Mr. President,

No matter how proud the actions of Ukraine’s youth make us feel, repelling the foreign aggression and managing it consequences is not the fate we envisioned for our younger generation.

Therefore, nowadays the Government of Ukraine is committed to strengthen qualitatively the potential of our youth, as well as creating equal opportunities and guaranteeing equal rights. In this regard, we strongly believe that education has to and will play one of the leading role in shaping the future of our youth, reinforcing their role in public life, instilling the spirit of open-mindedness, tolerance and “can do” attitude.

To achieve this goal, the educational reform was launched in 2017 with the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Education”. This reform envisages a systemic transformation of Ukraine’s education sector into an innovative environment, in which students develop skills to independently acquire and apply knowledge to real world situations.

This, among other things, is fully in line with the recommendation of the Progress Study “to support inclusive labour policies and practices that ensure equal access for all young people to the labour market and the enjoyment of fundamental principles and rights at work”.

Moreover, last year my Government have supported the Ukrainian Pact for Youth-2020 – the initiative on creating new jobs and educational opportunities for young people through facilitating partnership between business community and educational institutions.

My Government also highly appreciates the assistance of UNICEF in establishing of the School reconciliation service. This year we plan to open 50 such entities.

Mr. President,

We reiterate our position that the empowerment of youth and youth-oriented organizations is essential in promoting positive role models, finding proper response to violence and building a peaceful social fabric. Therefore, the Government of Ukraine in the youth sphere moved away from the patronizing position of “working with youth” to an inclusive approach of “youth participation”. We note that such an approach is also advocated by the authors of the Study before us.

In conclusion, Mr. President, Ukraine is convinced that the role of youth in ensuring peace and security cannot be overestimated. Energy and creativity of young people can contribute to development and progress of their societies. Unfortunately, there are also numerous examples, when that energy can be and is exploited for destructive purposes. It is our joint responsibility to assist the younger generation in pursuit of their aspirations to build a better world of tomorrow, to equip them through education with the right tools, and to make sure that young people become agents of peace and positive change.

I thank you.