Today, Ukraine co-authored the UN Human Rights Council resolution "The human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation". The resolution notes the importance of access to safe, clean drinking water for the realization of everyone's rights.
This resolution, as well as other international legal instruments in the field of international humanitarian law and human rights law, will be another important tool of holding Russia accountable for violation of social and economic rights of people residing in the occupied territories of Ukraine, including the right to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Under the Russian aggression and occupation of a part of the Ukrainian territory, the issue of access to water became especially important for our state.
The barbaric attitude to the occupied territories and natural resources of Ukraine has already led to a true ecological disaster in Donbas. Flooding of mines and improper management of other illegally expropriated industrial and infrastructural facilities cause contamination of groundwater, including with radioactive waste. This threatens the water resources not only of the occupied part of Donbas but also of the adjacent Government-controlled territory of Ukraine. This threat is rapidly spreading to neighbouring regions. What is of particular concern is that the Ukrainian or international experts are unable to assess the caused damage due to blocking of access to the occupied territories by the Russian occupation administrations.
The overexploitation of the illegally expropriated industrial facilities and natural resources in the occupied Crimea threatens access to the drinking water for the population of the peninsula. Moreover, the Russian occupation authorities need more and more water for the development of the military infrastructure and military industry facilities as well as military personnel build-up. The situation is complicated with the active relocation by the Russian Federation of its citizens to the occupied Crimea in order to change the demographic composition of the peninsula. These actions of the occupying power constitute a war crime and require proper reaction of the international community.
The Russian Federation as an occupying power must ensure social and economic rights and needs of the population in the territories under its control, including basic sanitary and safe water. The Russian Federation bears full responsibility for the violations of such obligations as well as other norms of international humanitarian law and human rights law. The adoption of the Resolution will be another step towards ensuring such accountability, which is one of our top priority.