[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text
version below transcribed directly from audio]
Thank you, Mr. President. This is an important and
historic moment. Countries from around the globe have voted to suspend Russia
UN Human Rights Council for its gross and systematic violations of
human rights. We have collectively sent a strong message that the suffering of
victims and survivors will not be ignored.
Despite Russiaís attempt to spread dis -- disinformation, we all saw the gruesome
images from Bucha, Dymerka, Irpin, and other recently liberated Ukrainian cities
-- lifeless bodies lying in the streets, some apparently summarily executed,
their hands tied behind their backs.
We've seen credible reports of landmines and booby traps left behind by Putinís
forces to injure even more civilians after Russia failed in its objectives and
withdrew. I shudder to think what we will find in other towns across Ukraine, as
ominously warned us in the Security Council, in the weeks
Yesterday, I saw a photo taken by an AP photojournalist in Kyiv that has stuck
me in particular. Itís of a six-year-old boy standing in a garden next to his
motherís grave. It -- struck -- It...struck me that -- because one day Ukraineís infrastructure will be
rebuilt and the rubble will be cleared, but there will be no way to rebuild the
lives that Russia has destroyed. We cannot bring back those who have
perished: Ukrainian mothers, fathers, sons, daughters.
When I was in Moldova and Romania just a few days ago, I personally met with
women and children who shared heartbreaking stories of Russiaís violence. They
spoke about losing relatives and loved ones, of fleeing the only home they had
ever known. Despite everything that they had been through, they were determined
to carry on and to return home to a peaceful Ukraine. We must continue to show
similar determination to stop their suffering -- to hold Russia accountable, to
end this war.
After all, this is not only about accountability for Russia. Itís about standing
with the people of Ukraine. And itís about the credibility of the UN. Right now,
the world is looking to us. They are asking if the United Nations is prepared to
meet this moment. They're wondering if we are a platform for propaganda and a
safe haven for human rights abusers, or if we are prepared to live up to our
highest ideals, enshrined in the UN Charter.
Today, the international community took one collective step in the right
direction. We ensured a persistent and egregious human rights violator will not
be allowed to occupy a position of leadership on the human -- on human rights at the UN. Let us
continue to hold Russia accountable for this unprovoked, unjust, unconscionable
war -- and to do everything in our power to stand with the people of Ukraine.