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Statement by International IDEA on UNGA Emergency Special Session on the Principles of the UN Charter underlying a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine

Speech delivered: February 23, 2023
Event: Location:
Statement delivered by Ms Amanda Sourek on behalf of International IDEA


11th Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly 


23 February 2023 

UN Headquarters, New York 


Statement by 

Kevin Casas-Zamora 

Secretary General 

International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) 





It has been one year since the Russian Federation launched its illegal war against Ukraine. One year of aggression, of war crimes, of crimes against humanity. One year of brutality against the basic principles of the United Nations Charter, against the promise of democratic rights and freedoms, against the international rules-based order and respect for the sovereign equality of all Member States. One year of death, displacement, and devastation, occurring each day in territories invaded by Russia and revealed in areas recovered by Ukraine. 

International IDEA reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s illegitimate and immoral war against Ukraine and urges the immediate and unequivocal withdrawal of all Russian military forces from Ukrainian territory. Until this occurs, we welcome the adoption, enforcement, and continued escalation of sanctions by the international community against the Russian Federation. Ultimately, the responsibility of the Russian Federation must be addressed in accordance with UNGA Resolution 60/147.11 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This accountability is a matter of international law, and the rule of law must and shall prevail.  

We encourage the UN Secretary-General to continue working to advance ceasefire talks, and to support increased humanitarian access to the war-affected areas and protection of civilians.  

The resolution being debated today calls for a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine. Such an objective is inextricably connected to the democratic ambitions of the Ukrainian people. 

As International IDEA has noted previously, this conflict is about democracy as much as it is about sovereignty. Over many years, and despite many obstacles, Ukrainians have repeatedly affirmed their commitment to democratic values. The result has been steady improvement across a variety of democratic indicators, including respect for media freedoms, the fight against corruption, and the conduct of free and fair elections, as measured by International IDEA’s indices and reports. Today, this hard-won progress hangs in the balance.  

Let us be clear: Ukrainians have chosen democracy. Thus, a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine must be a democratic peace, determined by and for Ukrainians. Support from the international community should reflect this democratic imperative. Among the needs of a post-war Ukraine, democracy support and the defence of human rights will be crucial.  

The outcome of this institutional process will reverberate far beyond Ukraine. It is a test of the defence and rebuilding of inclusive and sustainable democracy as a guarantor of rights for both people and nations. In this effort, we should not lose sight of the need to enable a path for democracy to return to Russia as well, as part of securing a lasting regional and global peace. We must say it clearly – a democratic Russia would have not unleashed this tragedy. Advancing democracy is the single best way to build and guarantee global peace. 

Ukrainians are putting their lives on the line every day to defend the values that we claim to hold: the values of the UN Charter, of sovereignty and human rights and multilateralism. Helping them to preserve a future for Ukrainian democracy will be our tribute to them. 


Thank you. Dyakuyu. 


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