On November 10, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO Emine Dzhaparova spoke at the General Policy Debate, held within the framework of the 41st session of the UNESCO General Conference.
Emine Dzhaparova informed that the Russian occupation administration in Crimea continues to systematically ignore and violate human rights, neglecting UNESCO values, as evidenced by the UNESCO Director-General reports on the situation in Crimea within the competence of UNESCO.
In particular, First Deputy noted that the persecution of journalists and human rights activists has intensified on the territory of the temporarily occupied peninsula, persecution of members of religious communities continues, and freedom of speech and assembly is openly neglected. "These and other violations of international law and human rights require a swift and appropriate response from our international partners," Emine Dzhaparova stated.
The head of the National Commission also called on UNESCO to pay more attention and take tangible effective measures to prevent the destruction of historical monuments and cultural heritage sites in the Ukrainian Crimea, caused by the so-called “restoration works” and by other actions of the Russian occupation administration that threaten the preservation of the universal cultural and historical value and authenticity of the sites.
The head of the Ukrainian delegation congratulated UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on her re-election and, in particular, noted her efforts to keep the issue of Russian occupation of Crimea on the Organization's agenda.
The First Deputy Minister also noted the efforts of Ukraine's partner states – members of the UNESCO Executive Board. Thanks to their proactive position, the thirteenth decision on Monitoring the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine) was adopted at the 212th session of the Executive Board this October.
Emine Dzhaparova reaffirmed Ukraine's readiness to support UNESCO-led initiatives using Ukraine’s cultural, educational and scientific potential. "Ukraine fully supports the Africa, Gender and Youth priorities on the UNESCO agenda in order to ensure equal access to quality education, economic resources and political participation, as well as the dissemination of UNESCO principles and values among children and youth."
During the visit, the Head of the National Commission also held meetings with UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations Firmin Edouard Matoko and Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone. She informed her counterparts about the progress of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO reform, thanked the Secretariat for keeping the monitoring the situation in Crimea within the competence of UNESCO among the organization’s priorities, and discussed prospects for consideration of Ukrainian nomination dossiers "Culture of cooking Ukrainian borscht" and “Ornek – a Crimean Tatar ornament and knowledge about it” by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Emine Dzhaparova also met with the representatives of the Friends of Ukraine UNESCO Group, established in 2015 and composed of Partner States’ Permanent Representatives to UNESCO.
The 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO opened on November 9 and will close on November 24. The agenda of the session includes the issues related to UNESCO's activities and discussing further development of international cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture, information and communication. The session will elect the new members of UNESCO's governing and program bodies and intergovernmental committees.