India underlined its support for diplomacy during the Ukraine war on Thursday, saying humanitarian help should not be politicized at a time when the situation is having a significant impact on children’s education. India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador R. Ravindra, speaking at a UNSC briefing on Ukraine, said that the food security concerns arising from the Ukraine crisis compel India to respond by going beyond these restrictions. These comments come as India has demanded that food export restrictions be lifted immediately for purchases made by the World Food Programme (WFP) for humanitarian relief. Last month, a UN report on the consequences of the Ukraine crisis made a similar recommendation regarding the need for food export exemptions.
“They are also the most vulnerable to suffering, particularly in situations of armed conflict, and therefore need additional protection and care. The conflict in Ukraine is no doubt severely impacting the 7.5 million children across Ukraine,” the Indian Deputy Representative said. “While the protection of the rights of the child, including their access to education is the primary responsibility of the national government, the international community has the obligation, to do its utmost to provide succor to children affected by this conflict,” he added. The Indian diplomat noted the conflict has also forced more than five million people to take shelter in the neighbouring countries and another 7.1 million are displaced within Ukraine. “Out of these, women and children constitute the majority. We commend the efforts by the neighbouring countries of Ukraine’s who have welcomed refugees from Ukraine, and especially for treating women and children with compassion and dignity,” he said.
While noting the evolving humanitarian requirements in Ukraine, the Indian envoy said it is in the collective interest to work constructively towards seeking an early resolution to the conflict. “Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, India has stood for peace, dialogue and diplomacy. We believe that no solution can be arrived at by shedding blood and at the cost of innocent lives, especially those of women and children,” he said. Reiterating the importance of UN guiding principles, Ravindra said humanitarian action must always be guided by the principles of humanitarian assistance and “These measures should not be politicized.” At the UNSC meeting, India turned the world’s focus on the increasing plight of children due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The Indian Deputy Permanent Representative highlighted the impact of the situation on the education of children has also been severe. “It has further aggravated the pandemic-related challenges that children were already facing. There are reports that more than 900 education facilities and schools have either been damaged or destroyed in Ukraine,” he said and stressed the efforts of the government of Ukraine to protect schools and other learning spaces. He also underlined that India has been sending humanitarian supplies to Ukraine and its neighbours, which include medicines and other essential relief materials. “We support calls for guarantees of safe passage to deliver essential humanitarian and medical supplies; including through the establishment of humanitarian corridors. We hope the international community will continue to respond positively to the evolving humanitarian requirements,” he added.
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