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22 June 2022 afternoon

2022 - Third part-session Print sitting

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Opening of the sitting No. 22

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


The sitting is open. 

I have learnt that Mr François CALVET wants to make a point of order.

Mister CALVET.

Mr François CALVET

France, EPP/CD


It is just to modify my vote this morning because I made a mistake: instead of voting against, I am voting for the report of Ms Petra BAYR. I want her to excuse me too because it was just a material error.

Thank you, Mister President.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mister François CALVET.

As you know, a vote cannot be changed, but we have now duly taken note of your statement. So I think from now you can leave in peace with the rapporteur.

I see Mr François CALVET still explaining what went wrong, but it is now taken note in the minutes of the meeting.

We now come to the joint debate on the “Humanitarian consequences and internal and external migration in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine” (Doc. 15547 + Add), the “Protection and alternative care for unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children” (Doc. 15548) and “Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation” (Doc. 15525)

The reports are presented from the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons and the other one, the third one, from the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.


The first report from the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons is titled “Humanitarian consequences and internal and external migration in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine” (Doc. 15547 + Add) presented by Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, as the rapporteur.


The second report from the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons is titled “Protection and alternative care for unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children” (Doc. 15548) and it will be presented by Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, as rapporteur, and that will be followed by the presentation of an opinion by Ms Sibel ARSLAN, the rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development (Doc. 15554).


The final report, coming from the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, is titled “Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation” (Doc. 15525) and it will be presented by Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, as rapporteur, and that will be followed by the presentation of an opinion by Mr Kimmo KILJUNEN on the behalf Ms Boriana ÅBERG, the rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy (Doc. 15538).


So we have a full first row. I would say the result of quality over there are most happy that we have two rapporteurs coming from Ukraine showing that the Ukrainian delegation is functioning here in the in the hemicycle.


In order to finish by 8 p.m. or as early as possible, I will interrupt the list of speakers at about 6:45 p.m. to.. no, I think this is something wrong. I will interrupt at a certain stage the list of speakers if needed. I hope that we can accommodate everybody.

Now, I remind colleagues that each rapporteur will have 7 minutes to present their reports and a further 5 minutes to reply to the debate.

Now I call in the debate Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, the rapporteur, to present the first report. You have 7 minutes.

The floor is yours, dear Pierre.

Joint debate: Humanitarian consequences and internal and external migration in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine / Protection and alternative care for unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children / Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation

Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ

Switzerland, SOC, Rapporteur


Thank you, Mister President.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear colleagues,

This is a mission that was organised in record time, given the urgency of the situation. I had the opportunity to visit Ukraine, but in fact I visited Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine.

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank the Council of Europe office in Warsaw; for Slovakia, we were helped by the IOM, the International Organization for Migration; for Romania, especially by Ms Diana STOICA and the Romanian authorities; and for Ukraine, the most important part by Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, and I also saw Ms Larysa BILOZIR on the spot and also the local and regional authorities of the Uzhhorod and Chernivtsi oblasts. I would like to thank the Secretary Tatiana Termacic who was really very efficient.

We have witnessed, dear colleagues, the largest population migration since the Second World War: huge displacements, 35% to 40% of the Ukrainian population. We must take the measure of the terrible tragedy affecting the Ukrainian people: we can speak of a martyrdom. Let us think of the images of Bucha or Marioupol and, today, of Donbas. Massive destruction, human rights violations, war crimes, perhaps secondarily reclassified as crimes against humanity, mass deportations to Russian territory, and we must note with great admiration the impressive and effective resistance of the Ukrainian people and army. This is the heroism of a whole people.

In this report, I will limit my remarks to the humanitarian aspect of the conflict, to the humanitarian consequences and to the migrations inside the country and outside the country; inside the country, they are called displaced persons, therefore IDPs. The migrants who had to leave their homes are in three different situations: there is a part of them who stayed in the country, who moved, basically, from the east to the west of Ukraine; then there are people who are outside the country, either in the countries of arrival, at the border, or further away. Outside Ukraine, in the countries of arrival, we can mention Poland, 4 million Ukrainians; Hungary, 780 000; Slovakia, 510 000; Moldova, 500 000, which is enormous for this small country - there are about 80 000 left; Romania, 650 000 - there are about 100 000.

It is worth noting the significant burdens that have been assumed by local governments. In total, there are 7.7 million people who have left Ukraine to date. Some have stayed in the countries of arrival, others have gone further afield, and we must note the great solidarity of the European peoples, with the establishment in particular of a special temporary protection permit which gave social protection and also the possibility of working. In my country, Switzerland, for example, there are about 60 000 Ukrainian refugees.

It is difficult to quantify them properly because not everyone has identified with their place of arrival, but the needs are colossal, at the expense of the Ukrainians, to take care of these people. To respond to these needs, which are multiple, and which affect food, when we were in Uzhhorod and Chernivtsi, we saw what we could call soup kitchens, with institutions that delivered between 2 and 5 000 meals per day; there is the whole problem of housing, I give you the example of Uzhhorod, normally 120 000 inhabitants and now 500 000; There is the whole problem of education, and here, we must note the only beneficial effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that Ukraine, like other countries, had put itself on the page of the video-conference for the education of the children, and in fact that this was able to last.

So these needs must be met, and the main burden of managing the humanitarian crisis falls on cities and regional governments. There is a need for long-term support because the war is likely to last. The support must be continuous, coordinated, with sustainable measures.

When we were in Ukraine at the beginning of May, and then in Romania, we were told that in fact the aid that was arriving on the spot was decreasing. There is a hub in Romania, near Iași, a place where international aid arrives, and initially there were two or three convoys a day; now there are only two a week. That's a challenge.

And secondly, there will be reconstruction. This is an absolutely enormous challenge. I would like to inform you that at the beginning of July, there will be a big seminar in Switzerland, in Locarno, the Ukraine Recovery Conference, the aim of which will be to set the priorities, methods and principles of reconstruction. The idea will be to find financing.

When we were there, an idea was born. In fact, it had already germinated in the minds of people before us, modestly M. Tatiana Termacic and I: it is that we noticed, for example in Chernivtsi, that the local authorities said that it was the twinning agreements they had made with Germans or German or Polish cities that were in fact their inexhaustible source of help, because there were contacts, knowledge, experience, which made people, outside, feel concerned.

In fact, what I would like to propose through this report is a twinning grant, a great campaign of twinning of Ukrainian towns with European cities to really ensure, in the proximity, an important help. If we now send aid like this, in a general way, to Ukraine, there is a great chance, because the situation is serious, that a large part of this money will end up in armaments. This is an important element. In fact, let's think about the Ukrainians, about the populations: there is nothing better than direct aid thanks to the links that have been forged.

On Tuesday, I had a meeting here with Mr Andreas Kiefer, who is the Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, and in fact they have already anticipated this and have a Cities4Cities platform: we got along quite well and the idea is to start from this base to make this possibility of help a reality. This can be the starting point to develop and amplify.

Dear colleagues, the aim of this report is to really encourage aid to the Ukrainian people on the humanitarian level.

Other issues are addressed in the report, which are well known: the problems of trafficking in human beings, the problems of the Roma, minorities, migrants, third countries, LGBTI people, children, sick and disabled people. All these people must be taken into account and these are enormous burdens.

The Ukrainian delegation tabled a whole series of amendments that I did not discuss at all; I accepted them all, they were unanimously accepted by the Committee. The idea is that we are not here to discuss details, to quibble and quibble. It is these people from Ukraine who know the reality and here, the goal is to be united behind this report but above all behind the Ukrainian people who need a great help.

Thank you for your attention.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mister Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, for the presentation of your report.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


I now call in the debate Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, the rapporteur, to present the second report.

Mariia, you have 7 minutes as well.


Ukraine, EPP/CD, Rapporteur


Thank you, dear President and Mister François CALVET.

Dear colleagues,

This report has started its long way of preparation, a little bit more than a year ago, but I couldn't have thought that we would have to change the wording, not a little bit but quite a lot, but even the title.

The extension of the alternative care for unaccompanied and separated migrants, and we add refugee children, was the view of the recent developments of war and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, which, as was rightly said by my dear colleague Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, has the highest numbers of displacements. And if we focus here on Ukraine, it is, unfortunately, that every second child is internally or externally displaced.

Figures that our subcontinent has not witnessed since the Second World War. When we are talking here about unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children, our geography obviously goes beyond our continent, and particularly, the high level of how vulnerable they are. How many difficulties they have to go through while travelling through the continent and we had a great side event, which my dear colleague from the Netherlands, Ms Petra BAYR, has organised to show on the example of Afghan children, how the mechanisms have to be insured and enhanced.

Of course, if you have had an opportunity to go through the text of the report, we highly salute and suggest existing mechanisms. But we understand that foster care and placing such individuals, as unaccompanied minor children, for instance, in the families themselves are the best options possible.

Of course, proving the age is becoming a huge difficulty when the ID is either present or absent, the process has to go through smoothly. The challenges, such as cultural difficulties or language barriers, also can be tackled by all of us jointly, that is why the amendments which were presented also by and highly saluted by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development were accepted, and to make it very short for you here that the diasporas and cultural organisations and many NGOs are playing a decisive role, not only at the governmental level.

Childhood does not last long and this is our duty, as adults, to make it happy, to make it peaceful and to make it prosperous. That is why education as a paramount right of every child, every human being, promoted by every constitution of our member states and by, of course, the European Convention on Human Rights are at the heart of this report.

We cannot forget the involvement of the Secretariat of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, which I highly salute was our mutual work, but also the UNHCR organisation which took part in the recommendations of this report.

Dear colleagues, as a small conclusion I think this brings an extensive overview of the suggestions on how care should be granted to unaccompanied migrant children and also separated migrant children but also refugee children. Of course, the challenge that we are facing, we can only assess in the future, if we were right or wrong in our instruments. But we do believe, as a group or let's say working group of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, that this brings us to a great result already.

I would also like to stress that the reports provide a brief overview of the relevant international and European standards and policies, notably Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which requires positive actions by member States for the protection of the family life of these children. And that is why we, again, talk about the best practices of family care. It also maps out some promised practices in provisions of alternative care arrangements for these children and adolescents and it also looks at the necessary safeguards of protection and prevention.

Dear colleagues, I would like to stress that this, let's say, triple debate which is occurring right now is overlapping between these resolutions to be voted on, and brings a very clear understanding of which guiding principles we are setting right now. This is, at the same time, a sad and happy moment because Ukraine takes an active part in this process because of the recent developments which happened in our country. I would like to thank again the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development to the rapporteur namely Ms Sibel ARSLAN, for the valuable opinion which she produced and again to the Secretariat of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons. The long-lasting co-operation, I think, will be further strengthened in the resolutions to come.

Thank you, dear President.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA.

Now I call Ms Sibel ARSLAN, the rapporteur of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.

You have 3 minutes.


Switzerland, SOC, Rapporteur for opinion


Thank you, Mister Chair.

Dear Colleagues,

First of all, I would like to congratulate Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA for this important and timely report.

According to the UNHCR, 100 million people have now been forced to flee their homes globally. Most of them arrive from countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Bangladesh, which are facing multiple crises, with no tangible solutions in sight. Almost half of the refugees are children. Our governments have all ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and have a legal and a moral obligation to ensure care and protection for every child.

Today, we are also experiencing a profound shock and anxiety with respect to the loss of life, destruction and human suffering caused by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. According to UNICEF, the first month of the war alone led to the displacement of over 4 million children, which is more than half of the country’s estimated child population. This is a tragedy for us all.

The best way to protect migrant and refugee children, regardless of where they come from, is to invest massively in prevention of armed conflicts, poverty alleviation, and tackling climate change. No parents should have to make the impossible choice between risking their lives by sending their children on dangerous trips or keeping them at home.

That said, we must be realistic. With powerful interests at stake, migrants and refugees will continue to arrive in Europe in the years to come. Admittedly, our countries do not have unlimited capacity for welcoming the ever-growing numbers of migrant and refugee children. However, we can, and we must do better.

If we look at numbers, Türkiye alone currently hosts a population of over 3.5 million refugees. In comparison, the total of 74 000 child asylum claims in Europe seems relatively modest. There is certainly a considerable margin for a more generous approach to asylum for children on our continent.

So we support this report.

To conclude, I would like to support the key message of the report prepared by Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA: migrant and refugee children are children, they must be treated as such. I strongly support this draft resolution.

Thank you very much. I hope it will also be supported by us all.

Thank you.


Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam Sibel ARSLAN.

Now I call in the debate Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, rapporteur, to present the final report.

And you have 7 minutes, Yevheniia.

Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK

Ukraine, ALDE, Rapporteur


Thank you so much dear colleagues.

It's my first report and it became very personal. I never knew that I would be finishing in it during the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation to Urkaine. And actually when I was returning from the fact-finding mission on this report from Netherlands, I was travelling from Amsterdam and before that from The Hague, I landed in Boryspil, in Kyiv, and that was the last flight on the 23rd of February. It was the last flight that landed in the capital of Ukraine. And I really hope there will be a lot more flights after we win this war.

So it is my honour to be taking part in this joint debate on three important reports, and even each of one of them deserves a whole debate on their own as their focus in subject matter are quite different.

But one thing they have in common is that they all take as a starting point Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, as the most real and immediate example of what can happen to people during conflict.

All of them show that the examples from Ukraine not only concern us all, but could actually happen to us all, and are indeed happening to many other people in different parts of the world.

They show “how bad it can get” for migrants, refugees and displaced persons. How bad can be the situation of unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children my colleague was writing about (just remember the story of the 11-year-old boy from Zaporizhzhia that crossed by himself the Ukrainian-Slovak border), and how badly they need protection, assistance, care, and accompaniment, as casualties of a war they never dreamed of, and of which they should never have to dream.

And how bad the situation of women can be during conflict, made worse by systems which do not provide sufficient protection, recognition, or proper justice.

A difference I see with my own report is that although much of it does look at the negative sides – the failings in justice and security for women during and after conflicts, and at the lasting negative consequences of war, in particular for women in the countries of former Yugoslavia – it also records successes, and shows that women are gaining in importance in political, legal, and societal mechanisms for justice, peace, and reconciliation, including in international criminal courts.

Yes, my report looks at women as among the first victims of war and refers to the horrific way that rape and other forms of sexual violence, most often against women and girls, are used as a weapon of war. But it also shows that women are soldiers – 17% of Ukraine’s armed forces are women. It shows that they are active citizen defenders, doctors, mothers, activists, leaders, and politicians. And I can assure you, they are very good ones!

There are many examples of the power of women, from the way women have led countries through the Covid-19 pandemic, to the way in which women leaders in my country are contributing to the war efforts and not only, such as our vice-Prime Minister who was negotiating prisoner exchanges and safe corridors, or another vice-Prime minister who is responsible for the European integration of Ukraine.

In all our countries, women must be empowered to play a greater role within the highest decision-making bodies and in peace talks.

Discrimination against women and girls in post-conflict societies must end, good practices in the field must be shared and implemented.

Women and men must work together to end discrimination as a means of avoiding and averting conflict.

Education for girls and boys needs to be gender mainstreamed to put an end to trajectories that favour men and relegate women to lower levels of expertise and responsibility.

I would like to thank Ms Boriana ÅBERG, she is not here, but we had a great meeting on Monday, for her opinion from the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. The amendments she suggested reinforce the recommendations it contains.

The report illustrates that there is a very long way to go before women’s potential is taken properly into account.

Gender specific protection is needed at all times during conflict, and special psychological and medical support are vital after conflict has ended. Capacity-building and empowerment are two essential elements for assisting women in assuming their rightful roles in decision-making.

Listening to women from the Balkans, and during my visit to The Hague, including to the International Criminal Court and the Residual Mechanism for the Former Yugoslavia, I was able to develop a series of recommendations for the draft resolution you have before you now.

Among them are the need for member states to ratify and implement the international legal norms which provide for the protection of women and their empowerment, in particular those which are part of the United Nations’ Women, Peace, and Security agenda. States must also work towards feminist foreign policies, taking those countries which have adopted this approach as models.

I am extremely proud that my parliament has voted to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention. The President signed it yesterday.

The convention recognises, and I quote, “that the realisation of de jure and de facto equality between women and men is a key element in the prevention of violence against women, and that violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men, which have led to domination over, and discrimination against, women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women.”

This is the key to achieving justice and security for women in peace reconciliation, and for achieving equality for women in general.

We must therefore all continue to advocate for universal ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

Women must participate at all levels of decision-making, women’s civil society organisations must be able to function without obstacles and with state support. Training must be provided for military forces in gender-awareness and the need for differentiated treatment.

And very important thing: there cannot be lasting peace without justice, without the prosecution of perpetrators of human rights violations. And justice cannot be done if we do not work on building up evidence, on recording the events as they happen, as the war crimes committed by Russians in Ukraine, and bearing witness and hearing testimonies.

It is difficult for me, as a woman from a country under attack, to speak about future peace, and about reconciliation. But as I just said, there can be no peace without justice, and the foundations of that justice need to be laid right now. Ukrainians are sure that they will win in this war, because we are defending democracy against autocracy, dictatorship and our independence. We feel the support from all of you and we will one day achieve a peaceful future and peaceful life.

Thank you so much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK.

And once again congratulations to your Parliament, your Government and your President for ratifying our most important Istanbul Convention. If you can do that under these circumstances, you deserve our extra appreciation. Thank you very much. 

I now call Mr Kimmo KILJUNEN to present... Yes, there is nothing wrong with applauding for that.

Now I call for Mr Kimmo KILJUNEN to present your opinion on behalf of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy.

Kimmo, you have 3 minutes.


Finland, SOC, Rapporteur for opinion


Mister President, this is a bit of an extraordinary situation because I am making a speech in this Hemicycle and it is the first time the speech is not mine. I am an alter ego for Ms Boriana ÅBERG from Sweden. It is an honour, it is a delight that I can give her speech. It is her speech but there is one paragraph I disagree with and I will make a new note about that when we are in that paragraph, otherwise it is her speech.

Dear colleagues,

I would like to start by paying tribute to the work of the rapporteur of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Madam Yevheniia KRAVCHUK. Congratulations.

Completing her report while the Russian Federation continues to wage war on Ukraine must have not been easy. The Russian Federation's aggression causes, and continues to cause, enormous destruction and human suffering, especially the children and women.

Indeed, as history has repeatedly shown us, women and girls are among the first casualties of war. Notably, as victims of conflict-related sexual violence, the ongoing war is, unfortunately, no exception. That being said, during the war, women are not only victims but are also key actors at the political, military and humanitarian forefront. The Ukrainian female parliamentarians of this Assembly have demonstrated this quite amply – and that is true and that is my addition.

Similarly, research and previous experience from different parts of the world, from Northern Ireland to the Middle East and Africa, show that women's participation in peace and reconciliation processes is fundamentally moving those processes forward. Fully agree also – that is my note.

A recent study found that women's participation increases by 35% the probability of a peace agreement lasting 15 years. According to the same study, in cases where women were able to exercise a strong influence on the negotiation process, there was a much higher chance that an agreement would be reached than when women's groups exercised weak or no influence. In cases of strong influence of women, an agreement was almost always reached – and that is absolutely true, I have also personal experience on that one. And that is also my note. Not only for the sake of equality but also for the sake of efficiency, we can no longer continue to exclude women from the negotiation table.

Ladies and gentlemen, therefore, the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy welcomes this timely report. It proposes five amendments to the draft resolution with a view to strengthening its message. Two of them relate to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and the other United Nations women, peace and security resolutions and recall that the implementation of these resolutions falls in the first place on member states.

And, Mister President, now comes the paragraph, which is not mine – I do not agree. Two other amendments concerned the recruitment of women in the armed forces and the gender dimension. In this context, I – she – would like to stress that women's participation in armed forces is not only a matter of equal rights but also promotes increased competence of talents. Mister President, I personally disagree with Amendment 3 to promote this recruitment of women to armed forces. I principally do not support the further militarisation of our societies, in general. Ukraine is a specific case, but, in general, I do not support it. That is why I am disagreeing with Amendment 3 personally. The Committee agrees.

Finally, and that I agree also, an amendment is proposed to stress the importance of quality of education and in capacity building for developing peaceful societies.

Thank you very much, Mister President.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Madam Boriana ÅBERG and Mister Kimmo KILJUNEN because there are two people speaking here in one person.

Before opening the debate I would welcome in our Hemicycle the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Mr Leendert Verbeek, sitting in front of me and the Secretary General of the Congress. They just returned from a very important and informative fact-finding mission to Ukraine where they especially met with many representatives of local and regional authorities, and many of the mayors, and where they presented their Cities4Cities initiative.

So, I'm happy that both the President and the Secretary General are here with us to listen to our debate because they soon will have their debate in their congress.

Thank you very much for being here.

Now I call in the debate, as the first speaker, Mr Fourat BEN CHIKHA from Belgium. He represents the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group.

Mr Fourat BEN CHIKHA, you have the floor.


Belgium, SOC, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you, Mister President.

Dear Colleagues,

First, I want to thank the rapporteurs for their excellent work and a complimentary work. I think it's really important that we're having this joint debate today.

Every child should easily be left in care of their parents regardless of their legal documents or the reason of fleeing. Family reunification should always be the priority. Unfortunately, in reality it's too often the last solution that is sought after. This causes a massive impact on the well-being of a child and their opportunities to rebuild their lives.

At every procedural step, guidance should be provided to separate migrant and refugee children. Therefore, trained guardians must be assigned within 24 hours for the protection and safety of these minors. I should not have to remind you about the worrying fact that over the course of three years at least 18 000 minors disappeared. Disappeared.

Another huge issue that is still often overlooked is that when migrant and refugee children turn 18, they are still too often sent back to unsafe countries. Afghanistan is a primary example. Claiming that Afghanistan is a safe country is being blind to the horror and atrocity happening there. Turning 18 means that you can no longer have access to the right to a dignified life. Particular attention should also be paid to children with special needs, traumatised children, LGBT children, victims of violence, abuse, and human trafficking.

Each case should be looked at and the individual provided the best care and protection necessary. As soon as a child arrives in a country of asylum, in best interest assessment should be in place. Child protection officers at the borders could quickly and accurately identify vulnerable children and address the immediate protection and care.

Our main goal should always be to save future generations from having to flee. We have to keep tackling the root causes of why people have to flee their countries in the first place.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you Mr Fourat BEN CHIKHA.

In our debate, I call on Mr Bernard FOURNIER from France.

Bernard FOURNIER, from France, who speaks on behalf of the Group of the European People's Party.



France, EPP/CD, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you, Mr President.

Dear colleagues,

First of all, I would like to thank our five fellow rapporteurs for their excellent reports and opinions.

The joint debate we are holding this afternoon illustrates the dramatic consequences of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, which has caused the largest population movement in Europe since the Second World War. More than 6 million people have left Ukraine to take refuge in other European countries, while 7 to 9 million people have been displaced within Ukraine.

The European states, and in particular the neighbouring countries, have mobilised to support and welcome Ukrainian refugees, both at the national and local levels. I would now like to highlight the commitment of French local authorities, which very quickly provided accommodation and resources to help them. Unfortunately, we have to admit that the needs remain immense.

The Council of Europe, which quickly took the measure of the situation, has committed itself to guarantee the rights of refugees, which are sometimes undermined during these periods. Moreover, the fight against discrimination must not be put on hold: migrants fleeing war must not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or ethnicity. Our Assembly must, therefore, recall the need to guarantee the rights of all, without discrimination.

The protection of migrant children, or unaccompanied or separated minors, is also a matter of great concern as their numbers increase as the war continues. Measures must be taken in each of our Member States to ensure the protection of these particularly vulnerable children, in accordance with the obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

While the conflict seems to be going on for a long time, it also seems necessary to work on the integration of refugees in the host countries. Although European Union law allows people with temporary protection to access the labour market, many obstacles remain for applicants, starting with the language barrier or the recognition of qualifications. For refugee parents, there is also the issue of childcare for children who do not attend school or whether their school-age children should take the online courses offered by the Ukrainian government.

There is still a lot of work to be done and our support for Ukraine must be strengthened in the long term.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the commitment of the women of the Ukrainian delegation in our Assembly, but also in all the European countries they visit. I am sure that they will play a key role, when the time comes, in the peace and reconciliation process.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mister FOURNIER.

Now in the debate I call Mr Dmytro NATALUKHA from Ukraine. He speaks on behalf of the European Conservatives Group.

Dmytro, you have the floor.


Ukraine, EC/DA, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you very much.

Dear Mister Chairman,

Distinguished Members of the Assembly,

Esteemed Rapporteurs,

Thank you very much for this report, for your time and personal efforts in preparing this report that we consider timely and adequate.

I’d like to start with a quote from the report:

“With the fall of Mariupol', it is clear that the Russian army has no other objective than the total annihilation of Ukraine.”

Now, as a Ukrainian I strongly support and agree with this opinion, but as to a member of this distinguished Assembly, what does this quote suggest me?

That the staggering and horrific humanitarian consequences and internal and external migration in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine mentioned in this report are, unfortunately, only starting to unveil.

That 14 million people who are put on the roads to flee the Russian-led hostilities in a number that will only be growing. One third of Ukrainians forced from their homes is not the limit. That this is indeed the largest human displacement crisis in modern history and one of the biggest issues Europe has ever faced.

A human displacement that is, unfortunately, far from over.

Therefore, I wholeheartedly welcome and endorse specific propositions made in this report both to alleviate the fate of the 7 million internally displaced persons and more than 6 million of Ukrainians who fled the country, as well as to introduce a series of sustainable measures to support Ukraine and the host countries.

For instance, the suggestion to start thinking now about the reconstruction of Ukraine is fundamentally important, as much is the necessity to carefully target and co-ordinate the international assistance to rebuild the country.

The report also justly indicates a regrettable gradual decrease of substantial humanitarian donations and stresses that this humanitarian aid must be subject to monitoring and quality control within a mechanism we have to collectively develop.

The call to strengthen the Council of Europe Development Bank's (CEB) resources with a view to improving its ability to address urgent needs through targeted grants and increasing its capacity to finance long-term investments in social infrastructure is also critical given the circumstances.

These and other proposals do indeed make this report timely. What would make it truly urgent and pressing, however, is more focus on one particularly staggering issue.

According to Russia’s officials, since the beginning of the war 1 936 911 Ukrainians have been deported to Russia, of which 307 000 are children.

Again 307 000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly moved to Russia.

Russia is literally stealing Ukraine's future.

As Europe and Central Asia director for UNICEF, Afshan Khan fairly mentioned, “The war in Ukraine is a child rights crisis,” because nearly two thirds of children in Ukraine have been uprooted during the war.

The forcibly-moved children and adults are deprived from any sort of social protection and are going through the process of so-called filtration. They are often treated as the prisoners of war despite being civilians.

It is critical to introduce a special monitoring mechanism so that we do not lose trace of these people who are being forcibly deported as far as Siberia.

We often say “never again”, but here it is again – the reincarnation of the Gulag Archipelago in the 21st century.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mister Dmytro NATALUKHA.

Next in the debate, I call now Ms Petra STIENEN from the Netherlands, and she speaks on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

The floor is yours, Petra.


Netherlands, ALDE, Spokesperson for the group


Dank u wel, mijnheer de president. (Dutch - thank you, Mister President.)

Thank you, Mister President.

All three rapporteurs are asking very urgent questions.

How do we deal with the present war situation on our continent? What is needed to deal with the short and long-term humanitarian consequences of internal and external migration in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine? And how can we protect separate migrant and refugee children as well in the short and long-term? And how can we obtain justice and security for women in peace reconciliation?

On behalf of The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) for Europe, I want to compliment all three rapporteurs and the rapporteurs for their opinions and for their important work.

Well, Mister President, actually all these reports deserve a whole afternoon for discussion but what strikes us as the ALDE group is that every report has clear conclusions on what needs to be done. And they [provide] important insights for us to take into account when dealing with the crisis we are in.

Firstly, the ALDE Group appreciates the recognition in the report of Mr Pierre-Alain Fridez on the key role played by many international organisations, but also local regional authorities, civil society in providing a dignified humanitarian response to the plight of the Ukrainian people and realises that this support is essential for addressing the many challenges faced by host states.

Secondly, the ALDE group agrees with Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA  observations that children should be allowed to be children and receive child-friendly treatment by migration authorities even when they're fleeing war and crisis and are no longer accompanied by their parents or other adults or caretakers. This should be true for children from Ukraine, as we have seen in many instances lately, but also for children from other countries facing war and crisis.

This afternoon I co-sponsored a side event on a documentary called Shadow Game on four of these children, young teenage boys from, among others, Afghanistan and Syria. And the question was: Why did they have to go through such an ordeal to find safety? Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA´s report gives good answers on how to protect children on the move.

And then thirdly, the ALDE group completely agrees with the conclusion of Ms Yevheniia Kravchuk. Women must be present and active at all stages of peace building, recognised not only as victims of war but as actors at the forefront of peacekeeping, defence, and humanitarian actions, among others.

And Ms Yevheniia Kravchuk, Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, and all her other colleagues show,in the shape of the women's diplomatic battalion, what that means for the present, and what it means for the future.

Indeed the future is female.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam Petra STIENEN.

Now the fifth and last speaker on behalf of the political groups is Mr Paul GAVAN from Ireland, and he speaks on Group of the Unified European Left.

Paul, you have the floor.


Ireland, UEL, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you, Mister President.

On behalf of the United European Left, I want to give a welcome to each of these reports. The call for unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children to be considered as children and their best interest, in short, irrespective of their migrant status should be adopted and supported by everyone in this Chamber.

Equally, the call for women to be empowered to play a greater role within the highest decision-making bodies and in peace talks must be heeded. It is very difficult to adjust this, by the way, to these three reports in such a short space of time, but I do want to move on to Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ's report on Ukraine, which paints a very stark picture of the extent of the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from this war. As the rapporteur points out, we are looking at the largest movement of people since the Second World War. As of 9 June, there have been over 7 million refugee movements from Ukraine and over 8 million people have been displaced internally. Ukrainian authorities have reported more than 2 million movements back into the country. The UNHCR projects there could be as many as 8.3 million refugees by the end of this year.

A key message from this report, in paragraph 5, is that is essential to ensure continued long-term and co-ordinated support from Council of Europe member States, especially in the regrettable absence of any new peace initiative. This war looks set to continue for some considerable time to come. It is concerning to note that after an incredibly generous response from member States in the early weeks of this war, there has been a gradual decrease in humanitarian donations.

Now in the short time left, I want to make a few key points in relation to the report.

Firstly, the sheer scale of the crisis and its burden on neighbouring states means that, notwithstanding the welcome decision of EU member states to implement the temporary protection directive, there needs to be a solidarity mechanism put in place to prevent a humanitarian disaster from unfolding in many of these border states.

Secondly, the dangers of trafficking, exploitation and abuse cannot be underestimated and the call to establish a transnational tracking system that would help border police to identify potential victims must be put into action.

Third, the vulnerability of certain groups of people fleeing from war, most notably Roma, third country nationals, and members of LGBTI groups must be a cause of real concern to us all. It should be a matter of not just regret but shame that these people have not been given the same welcome as Ukrainian nationals. 

Fourth, to focus on how to support the reconstruction of Ukraine is very important here. Quite apart from donors' conferences and an enhanced role for the Council of Europe Development Bank, I do wonder whether this Assembly should not be calling for a complete cancellation of Ukraine's national debt. Otherwise, it could take decades for this country to recover from this terrible war.

Finally, I would ask us all to reflect on how the very positive and generous response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis has shown us what is possible when member States act in unison and solidarity. Unfortunately, it is in stark contrast to the way refugees from other countries, like Afghanistan and Syria, have been treated facing a fortress Europe. I support the call from the rapporteur for a new approach to be taken to other refugees in Europe who continue to have a very different and negative experience.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mister Paul GAVAN.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


The next speaker is Ms Marietta KARAMANLI, from France, but she is not here.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


We continue with Ms Catia POLIDORI, from Italy.

You have the floor.


Italy, EPP/CD


Thank you, Mister Chair.

Thanks to our colleague, Madam Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, for the complete and timely work that that she did.

I will continue in Italian.


Italy, EPP/CD


I am sure that I can speak for all Italians, who, from the very first moment, condemned, in the strongest terms, the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and immediately made themselves available to take in the children and women.

Just yesterday, our President himself, Mr Sergio Mattarella, whom we have also hosted here, had words of gratitude and, to quote him literally, pointed out that in the actions of these people, the values of our Constitution are reflected.

This resolution urges all actors involved in peace processes to increase the participation of women and to use a gender perspective in all peace and security negotiations and talks.

In these 119 days of extremely harsh fighting, speaking in the Italian Parliament, I have repeatedly expressed strong concern about the ongoing aggression, and the escalation of violence being perpetrated against civilians, mainly children and women – whether they flee to safety or heroically stay to participate in the resistance.

Seeing the tears of Ukrainian women as they tenaciously offer help to their compatriots urges all of us not to look the other way, but to intervene with each government, to do what we can diplomatically and politically to seal a ceasefire as soon as possible.

I appealed to the international community to take special measures to protect women, young girls and girls from violence, particularly rape and other forms of horrific sexual crimes.

My applause earlier, for the news of the signing precisely – yesterday's news of the Istanbul Convention – was truly a heartfelt applause and certainly not a formal one.

In addition, I urged the international community to fully implement UN Resolution 1325 on "Women, Peace and Security," making women protagonists in peace negotiations and the following processes of national reconstruction of nations now at war.

Women contribute to the battle to defend democracy and freedom, but they are not allowed to participate in high-level decision-making processes concerning peace and security. It is precisely at the peace table that women should sit because they are mediators by natural vocation.

As our speaker pointed out, there is nothing unrealistic about expecting women to participate. There are many statistics that remind us just how important women have been and how processes tend to lead to effective resolutions when women play a high-profile role. 

I would like to ask a question, a somewhat provocative question – if the heads of state of Russia and Ukraine had been two women or even one of them, would we be in this kind of war?

A war that we thought was relegated to the history books.

Women give life, not take it away!

Women fully understand the tragedy of having a child taken from them.

From women comes life, and if we can get them to sit at the tables that matter – the negotiating tables – it is for women that peace will be restored.

Thank you, President.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Now we move to Mr José María SÁNCHEZ GARCÍA.


Spain, EC/DA


Thank you, Mister Chair. I will continue in Spanish.

I think there really is a terrible confusion here regarding questions that should not be lumped together. The right to asylum and protection granted by the European Union and other international bodies, as well as European bodies, are, without any doubt, sufficient to provide ample protection to people coming from the war in Ukraine. There is no doubt about that, including unaccompanied minors.

Now if we want to extend the right to asylum by assigning asylum status for other reasons, as is suggested here in this text, which should be put to this House, including issues such as climate change or economic needs, that is a point that can be made. But when it comes to Ukraine, that is not necessary. Current rules are sufficient. I think it is important to clarify that. I do not think it is very serious on our part to pretend otherwise. Perhaps it is also an attempt here for us to go somewhat further than what is required by the current conflict in Ukraine for reasons that are not directly linked to the war. 

I would like to say that the Spanish experience of unaccompanied minors has been terrible. We have had unaccompanied minors that were thrown across the border in the south of Spain, in Ceuta and Melilla, the Spanish enclaves in the south of Spain, and this is a clear violation of the rights of these children and of the right of the parents to maintain custody of the children.

We have seen similar things happening in Poland with the massive arrival of people coming from the Middle East and other parts of the world via Russia. Obviously, we should not be lumping unconnected things together. If we are to change the rules, we have to be sure that this is directly linked to the war itself and not for other unconnected reasons and that's all.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

The floor is now given to Mr Jacques LE NAY.

You have the floor.

Mr Jacques LE NAY

France, ALDE


Mister President,

Dear Colleagues.

The war in Ukraine has put many people on the road, including vulnerable people, especially children. Faced with this tragedy, the Council of Europe cannot remain indifferent. The adoption of the resolutions presented to us today will enable our Assembly to show its support for the Ukrainian displaced or refugee populations.

At the same time, this support must be reflected in an increase in the resources available to support Ukrainians in need. The member States of our Organisation must increase the resources allocated to the Council of Europe Development Bank to enable it to increase its intervention capacity through targeted subsidies.

Similarly, the European Union must continue its efforts on behalf of Ukraine, which has since expressed its desire to join the Union. The activation of the European directive on temporary protection has made it possible to provide a clear legal framework for the reception of Ukrainians in European Union countries. More than 4 billion euros in aid has also been released to support the Ukrainian state and its people.

These efforts are substantial, but they must be maintained as long as the war continues.

As is often the case when conflicts break out, children are the first victims. They are a particularly vulnerable group. This is true today, since, according to UNICEF, more than 90% of those who have fled Ukraine are women and children. In this context, special measures must be taken.

First of all, I believe it is necessary for the member States of our Organisation to offer the children of the refugees they receive the opportunity to integrate their school system. This is the case in France. In the case of unaccompanied minors, they must be able to be received in appropriate structures. In Poland, a tutoring system has been set up to allow an adult to take care of unaccompanied Ukrainian minors, following a decision by the Family Court. In any case, these unaccompanied minors must be offered access to education.

Secondly, it is essential to protect children from traffickers and forced labour. The chaos that followed the Russian attack is, indeed, a godsend for criminals who exploit human misery. The Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings quickly took stock of the problem and issued a declaration on 17 March, recalling the obligations of the 48 states party to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

A strengthening of police operations at refugee arrival points and the registration of those who offer accommodation services are necessary to prevent children from falling into the hands of traffickers.

In this more than alarming context, I will therefore vote without reservations for all the texts proposed to us today.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you, sir. [in French]

Now we move to Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY.

Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY

Türkiye, NR


Thank you.

Dear President,

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to thank the rapporteur for her valuable effort in preparing this excellent report.

Considering the recent challenges that we have now faced, namely the ongoing war in Ukraine, the vital role of women became evident in building and safeguarding peaceful and democratic societies.

The war in Ukraine has shown us, yet again, that women and girls are among the first casualties of war as the victim of conflict-related sexual violence.

Hence, as it is stated in report, it is not acceptable that women are not at the table during peace talks despite their status as victims and stakeholders.

However, sadly, according to the UN statistics, about 10 out of 10 peace talks did not have women mediators. This situation results in not only a lack of provisions on the priorities of women and girls but also a lack of reflection regarding women's perspectives in peace talks.

Dear Colleagues,

I firmly believe that recommendations that have been made to empower women’s participation not only for peace and reconciliation but also during the conflict require the attention of every member State of PACE.

I think it is time to reconsider traditional foreign policies by opening new pathways for intersectional rethinking from the perspective of women.

To that end, women's representation in foreign policy ministries should be increased. For example, the ratio of female employees in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye is around 38%. In terms of ambassadors, female representation is around 25%.

It is crucial to ensure that women are protected against violence while providing the same opportunities to women in the armed forces as their male counterparts.

Secondly, empowering women to be involved in peace missions and conflict resolution is of utmost importance, considering our ability to change the course of events when given opportunities. Member States should provide necessary training, as mentioned in the report.

Before concluding, I would like to invite all member States to contribute to the efforts to involve and guarantee women in peace negotiations and enhance women’s representation during transitional justice proceedings.

Thank you for your attention.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now we move on to Ms Zita GURMAI.


Hungary, SOC


Thank you very much.

Dear Colleagues,

As the Russian Federation is waging an unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression on our continent, violating the rules of the international order let down after the Second World War and in gross violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine, talking about the role of women in war and peace is not a mere rhetorical exercise.

It is our everyday reality as Europeans. It is our clear obligation to ponder this reality now here in the Council of Europe and as a member of our respective parliaments. One day, hopefully very soon, this insane war will end, and then we will all have to be ready to let the way towards a future that women and girls are not only heard but actually sit at the negotiation table, as already said.

Having said that, let me be clear from the beginning. I wholeheartedly support this report without any reservation whatsoever. I want to congratulate – I'm really concentrating on the report of Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK – you on the work that you have been doing. I was very happy to have a great discussion at the network meeting. Please allow me also, not only to you but your dear colleague as well, to express my deepest sympathy towards your country, your heroic people, and Ukrainian people and lead from the example shown.

Dear Colleagues,

Please, allow me to underline only one thing in the report that we, as national lawmakers, can instantly lobby for in our countries even if it is not already in place. That is one thing that I call caring for victims in points 10.2 and 10.3 of the report, because I think it's crucial.

Do we do everything in order to empower witnesses, survivors, and affected communities to actively contribute to investigations as 10.2 stipulates? Or facilitate gender-specific collections of testimonies from person having suffered sexual violence during conflict, taking care to avoid retraumatisation by providing expert support and guarantees of confidentiality, as 10.3 says?

Indeed, violence and rape are back on our continent as weapons used by an aggressor who wants not only to occupy and defeat, but also to humiliate and annihilate. This attitude is unacceptable in our civilisation, and we should act accordingly. We should not let these crimes go unpunished, I especially urge members of parliament for countries that welcome Ukrainian refugees to go after point two and three and work on them relentlessly.

Yes, I also urge us to go home and question and lobby our government and verify whether we are all doing what should be done for justice and for the protections of the victims. Heavily ratify then adopt all the documents and procedures mentioned. Did we educate our own authorities to carry out the tasks mentioned in points 10.2 and 10.3?

Please let us all work on this by asking questions, analysing, expertise, and giving advice for improvement. We should all make this important report come alive as soon as possible. Parliamentary procedures and ratifications is one thing, insisting, lobbying is another. We need both.

Thank you very much for your attention and once again congratulations for this extraordinary work done. Never forget, the aggressor is going after what we know as European civilisations. Ukraine is the one standing in the way now.

Thank you very much.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Now is Ms Jorida TABAKU here? No? Okay, then we move on to Ms Marina CAROBBIO GUSCETTI.

Microphone, Madam – the grey one.


Switzerland, SOC



I thank the rapporteurs for their reports, which have well highlighted the need for measures to protect those fleeing the war in Ukraine, to protect minors, to protect unaccompanied children, to fight discrimination and ensure their rights.

I align myself with the demands, the contents in the resolutions, particularly in the resolution brought forward by my colleague Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ as well as those concrete proposals to implement what was presented in his report, as well as those on the protection of migrant and unaccompanied children.

I will focus briefly on the role of women in the peace process, which is central, as some of my colleagues who spoke have already said. Only by working together, women and men, ending gender discrimination can conflicts be avoided and prevented.

This means including a gender perspective in conflict resolution and peace processes that takes into account the special needs of women.

There is a need and urgency to put the issue of justice security of women and for women at the top of the global agenda and empower women at all stages of conflict resolution and peace processes.

When I talk about power, I am talking about participation, about a central role as men have it so far. It is also emphasised very well in her report when she says that women are the main civilian victims in conflicts.

They often do not have the means to prevent them and yet they are excluded of conflict resolution negotiations and are relegated to a marginal role in the reconstruction or reconciliation process. This is confirmed by the data that are cited in the report, data from the United Nations that show that between 1992 and 2019, women represented on average only 13 per cent of negotiators and 6 percent of mediators and 6 percent of signatories in major peace processes around the world.

About 7 out of 10 peace processes did not include women mediators or signatories. I hope now that in the face of this very serious situation, this conflict, this serious war in Ukraine of aggression, there will be a greater involvement of women. This resolution, this report is important just as the interventions that we have heard several times in this room from women have been important and are important.

Obviously, this needs to be accompanied by measures against discrimination and violence that women and girls suffer because of their gender. Fleeing war with their children, with the elderly, they are often threatened by violence, sexual assault and rape that are used as a weapon of war.

By recognising the peculiarities related to gender and the consequence of conflicts, we can certainly take an important step for peace.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now we go online to Ms Olena KHOMENKO. Is she with us? She is not with us, no. Then we will come back to her.

Yes, she is here.


Ukraine, EC/DA


Dear ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank our rapporteurs for delivering these reports.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, its citizens on the ground continue to suffer from its impact and the number of casualties and forced displacements has continued to rise. It can already be stated that the Russian invasion into Ukraine will have far-reaching consequences.

The United Nations General Assembly at an emergency special session in March adopted the resolution "Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine". The document shows the serious humanitarian consequences of Russia's military action against Ukraine including sieges, shelling and air strikes on populated cities of Ukraine, as well as attacks on civilians, civilian objects, schools, kindergartens, water supply systems, medical facilities, abductions of officials and attacks on immigration columns and others.

Illegal actions of the aggressor country during the war violate human rights among which the fundamental right is the right to life, which is guaranteed in a democratic society. States have an obligation not to violate human rights during the war and armed conflicts. Everyone has the right to insist that his or her rights be respected. It must be recognised that in the face of war and mass violence, the level of human rights violations is so high and it is therefore important for states to comply with the obligation not to engage in such conduct.

Progressive states are actively advocating the adoption and development of international law that limits the arbitrariness of those who are at war and aimed at banning the brutal means and methods of hostilities. During the armed conflict, many people lose not only their lives but also their house, property and cruel treatment of themselves and their loved ones. In particular, many people are forced to leave their place of residence during hostilities acquiring the status of internally displaced persons or displaced persons outside the country.

During a military conflict, while international and external migration takes place, there is a need to protect the rights and interests of children as part of the civilian population. However, given the vulnerabilities and needs of child development, children have special protections.

I would like to draw attention to some of the report provisions to be taken into consideration as they report on the humanitarian consequences of the Russian Federation's waged war against Ukraine. It is, above all, about semantics, so the term "Russian Federation attack on Ukraine" could not correspond to legally binding and internationally recognised "Russian full-scale aggression against Ukraine". The same applies to the term "war in Ukraine" as well as the time when it began. After all, the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine began not on 24 February 2022 but in 2014 on 20 February. In February 2022, a new phase of the Russian-Ukrainian war began: the Russian Federation's full-scale aggression against Ukraine. Moreover, Ukrainians should not be mentioned as "refugees" but rather "temporarily displaced people" as recognised both by EU decree and Ukrainian legislation.

It is important to know that responsibility for violating the law of war can be the collective and individual responsibility of specific offenders. The investigation of war crimes and bringing the perpetrators to justice is fundamental to the protection of human rights violated during the war. And this is not only the obligation of states under international humanitarian law but also an opportunity to establish the truth in an objective, complete and shall offer protection.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Now we move on to Ms Sona GHAZARYAN.

Is she here? Yes?

Thank you very much.


Armenia, ALDE


Thank you, honourable Chair, dear colleagues,

At the beginning of the 20th century the movement for women's right to vote was spreading worldwide.

I'm very happy to say that Armenia was already having success.

In 1919, the first direct parliamentarian elections were held under the universal suffrage.

Every person over the age of 20 had the right to vote, regardless of gender, ethnicity or religious belief.

Three female deputies were in the parliament.

Among them, was Ms Berjouhi Barseghian, whose grandchild many of you will recognise as the city mayor of Strasbourg - Jeanne Barseghian [who] was her granddaughter.

Diana Abgar, another Armenian strong woman, took a different path to public life. On Friday 2 July 1920, she was appointed Armenia's envoy to Japan. Serving until 1921, she ranked as one of the world's first female ambassadors.

Nowadays, currently in our parliament, women's representation is higher than ever, but still not enough at 35%.

Highly appreciating the role of women, civil society organisations were actively engaged with them in the law-making process, so that will lead to even more women's participation in legislative bodies.

Having peace agenda as one of the main agendas for our ruling party, I can reassure you that women MPs are also engaged in the decision-making processes.

The Republic of Armenia has also developed the second national action plan on the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, reaffirming its readiness to continue its work on peace and security.

The programme addresses the issues and challenges faced by women displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of the devastating war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh in the autumn of 2020.

As the result of the aggressive war, more than 91 000 people were forcibly displaced and received asylum in Armenia, 88% of whom were women and children.

The war of aggression started during the Covid-19 pandemic. That is complicating the difficult situation for women and girls.

The programme presents the problems of women and girls in crisis, addressing their security component.

The program addresses the issue of forcibly displaced women, the security challenges posed by the new border situation, and their impact on women and girls.

Considering the above-mentioned, I need to be very sincere and to tell you that I'm very much surprised to hear how our women colleagues here at the Parliamentary Assembly and other high-Ievel female officials in the neighbouring countries can speak in support of war and violence, finding justifications – this should not be acceptable.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, indeed.

Now we move to Ms Serap YAŞAR.

Ms Serap YAŞAR

Türkiye, NR


Thank you, Mister President.

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to thank the rapporteur for his brilliant work on this sensitive but largely ignored subject.

This Assembly has adopted several reports on migrant and refugee children and has worked on different aspects of the issue in recent years. The current Russian aggression against Ukraine has once again revealed that children are among the most vulnerable groups in migration and need immediate care and protection.

Contrary to our previous experiences, most countries have responded adequately to the current migration crisis and opened their doors to Ukrainian refugees and children. Türkiye was one of the first countries to respond to the massive flow of refugees from the country. Ms Emine ERDOGAN immediately contacted Olena Zelenska and Türkiye welcomed about 1 200 Ukrainian refugee children with their guardians. Many other European countries also mobilised their resources and welcomed 2 million children without delay.

However, there is still much to be done for migrant and refugee children who need special care and protection. I think this report succeeds in developing sound policy proposals on how we could protect these children with alternative care models.

Furthermore, I would like to draw your attention to the importance of family reunification for separated children as we advocate for the interests of children. We need to look at ways in which they can be reunited with their families. Furthermore, another important measure for separated migrant children is their identification and registration by the member State concerned. This is crucial to prevent their disappearance and to locate them in case of separation from their families.

Finally, I hope that the continued work of this Assembly on behalf of migrant and refugee children will produce tangible results in protecting these children from the harmful effects of war and migration.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, indeed.

Now we move on to Mr Birgir THÓRARINSSON.


Iceland, EPP/CD


Mister President, I want to thank the rapporteurs.

My input is directed to the third report: Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation.

The plague of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situation continues to be a matter of grave concern. In the aftermath of conflict, violence against women often increases, underlining the importance of rebuilding rule of law institutions. The challenges faced by women in post-conflict situation include getting access to justice, economic opportunities, equal participation of women in peace building, and the continuation of violence against women.

Incorporating gender equality in peace building is critical to addressing the violations of the rights of women and girls during armed conflicts and post-conflict settings.

Where there is an active participation of women in peace negotiations, peace agreements tend to place greater emphasis on social issues from tackling poverty to providing basic services and an establishment of transitional mechanism according to the UN Human Rights office. The period after conflict is a window of opportunity to build back better, to accelerate gender equality, advanced women's empowerment, and promote meaningful participation in all aspects of reconstruction.

We can shape a more peaceful and stable world when we engage women and girls throughout the process toward achieving peace.

Mister President,

I want to draw your attention to the challenges faced by women who are vetoed in the fragile post-conflict contest.

Around the world many women are barred in law or in practice from claiming their ownership rights to property in the case of a husband's death, the death of a father, or the dissolution of a marriage. In some cases only the head of household, who is often a man, can formally register property. Women who are vetoed by conflict but cannot prove their husband's death can be denied government income support. The Council of Europe must address this injustice.

Mister President,

There are many challenges facing women in post-conflict societies.

I welcome this important report.

As Pope Francis said, "We must fight injustice everywhere".


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now we have Mr Antón GÓMEZ-REINO.


Spain, UEL


Thank you, President.

War never brings good with it.

However, we have to recognise that this war, triggered by Mr Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, has led to initial changes in our system which hopefully will continue – some changes when it comes to our refugee system.

Apart from our basic principle of providing refuge to those who are escaping war, and in this terrible situation we find ourselves in, we have no choice but to face up to our humanitarian duty in supporting and helping those people. 

With this drama unfolding on our continent, that is actually some good news after many years where we simply turn a blind eye to people dying in the Mediterranean or exporting our border controls, where we are adopting an even harder migration and refugee policy.

That was a strategic mistake and unacceptable in humanitarian terms.

So over and beyond working to promote peace in Ukraine and beyond elsewhere, we also have to continue to take in refugees – providing not only that we can save them in the short term, but that we can also give them a dignified future, either here or in their country of origin.

However, the question is what happens to other refugees, the ones who don't come from Ukraine?

We seem to have first and second-class refugees. I think a very minimum of democratic decency would force us to recognise that we can't differentiate between different classes of refugees.

We have often heard that human beings have different rights based on the colour of their skin. I can't, I don't want to believe that. We are doing this now with Ukraine, so let's not make the same mistake with Afghans, Syrians, Yemenis, and so on.

I think we have a duty to recognise that in some cases, all too sadly, the migration policies of our countries are impregnated with institutional racism.

So while we are having this debate, there is a Basque ship – a civil society vessel, in the middle of the Mediterranean which is doing something which we are refusing to do. They have around 120 people, including pregnant women and unaccompanied minors and for days now, they have been seeking a port of refuge where those women and children can disembark.

I think we have to talk about the Mediterranean. I think we have to make it clear that this Council of Europe, and the member States of the Council of Europe - countries with ports where this vessel could actually land - should open up their ports so as to avoid yet another drama in the Mediterranean.

So, open up a port to the Aita Mari so as to ensure these refugees who come from equally terrible wars be allowed to land safely.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now, Mr Stéphane BERGERON.

Mr Stéphane BERGERON



Ladies and gentlemen, rapporteurs, dear colleagues,

We are holding this debate today, the day after World Refugee Day.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has, as the report presented by the rapporteur Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ reminds us, caused "the largest movement of populations since the Second World War".

Although I readily acknowledge that the United Nations Refugee Agency has somewhat reduced its overall assessment of the number of Ukrainian refugees, "to better reflect recent refugee movements to and from Ukraine", the figure is still 4.8 million people. This is literally beyond comprehension.

Fortunately, many countries have responded considerably and promptly and have made considerable efforts to welcome Ukrainians - and mainly Ukrainian women - fleeing the war.

I cannot speak of this admirable mobilization without lamenting the fact that the number of Ukrainian refugees welcomed in Canada to date is still not up to expectations. We can and must do more.

But there is another statistic I would like to mention today: 44 million. According to David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, 44 million people are indeed "walking toward starvation" because of the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports. The Ukrainian grain silos are full. In the long term, some 400 million people will rely on this supply.

According to some extremely worrying information, Russia would even go so far as to appropriate large quantities of Ukrainian wheat.

The Food Program says that in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, "millions of people are on the brink of collapse."

President Zelensky was right when he said, earlier this month, that the continued blockade of Ukrainian ports could lead to a massive migration crisis in Europe, as people suffering from famine seek refuge elsewhere.

So, I welcome the efforts of the United Nations and a number of countries to try to break the deadlock and end the blockade. However, with reports of Russian attacks on Ukraine's grain infrastructure and its vile bargaining, which makes an end to the blockade conditional on the withdrawal of sanctions, I fear that we are at an impasse.

It is becoming increasingly clear that a famine-induced migration crisis is not an unintended and unexpected effect of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but a strategic objective deliberately pursued by Russia, in which case it would be simply despicable. This would not be the first time that the Kremlin has used food weapons in Ukraine. The Russian government and President Putin have been trying to deny it, but they lost all credibility some time ago.

They are directly responsible for the catastrophic scenario that is unfolding, and we cannot allow Russian propaganda and disinformation to try to hide this fact.

Thank you for your attention.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Mr Christophe LACROIX – I now give the floor to Mr Christophe LACROIX.

Mr Christophe LACROIX

Belgium, SOC


Thank you, Mister Chairman.

I was surprised because I thought there were still a few speakers before me.

Mister Chairman,

My Dear Colleagues,

It has now become clear that the number of sexual violence and rapes perpetrated by Russians against Ukrainian women is increasingly documented. In addition, information on the difficulties faced by Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced persons in accessing sexual and reproductive health care in Ukraine and the neighboring and transit countries in which they find themselves is very disturbing.

Indeed, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since 24 February, more than 5 million Ukrainians have fled their country; more than 7 million Ukrainians are internally displaced and many are still in areas affected by the fighting. The war is putting great pressure on Ukrainian health care. They are at risk of sexual violence, unplanned pregnancies, and unsafe pregnancies and deliveries.

The challenges are also enormous for LGBTIQ+ people on the run, especially in countries like Hungary and Poland, which criminalise sexual minorities.

Sharia village, Iraq, 2015: Amsha was abducted by Daesh and then offered to one of their fighters. Amnesty International informs us that Yezidi women and girls have been bought as slaves, including a mother and a 5-year-old girl who were bought, and at one point the owner of these slaves wanted to punish the girl by tying her to a window in the scorching heat and without protection, and left her to agonize in front of her mother.

I, therefore, think that it is urgent to put the notion of rape and violence against women as weapons of war back in the forefront. This is an eminently worrying subject that my party, the Belgian Socialist Party, has been defending for a long time and which is also the subject of a motion for a resolution that I am putting forward on this subject of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo and more particularly in North and South Kivu, a region that has been plagued by armed conflicts for almost 30 years and which is currently resurfacing dangerously.

So, especially for all these women, all these children, all these girls who are martyred during violence and armed conflicts, I think that we must act.

I would really like to thank the authors of the various reports.

The war in Ukraine must not make us forget the atrocities that are, unfortunately, taking place elsewhere in the world and that we must all continue to be concerned about.

Thank you very much for your attention.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Sir.

The next speaker is Ms Nicole TRISSE.

You have the floor, Madam.

Ms Nicole TRISSE

France, ALDE


Thank you, Mister President.

Mister President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Thank you for your work which really points out the disasters of the war in Ukraine. There is so much to say.

However, in this joint debate, I would like to focus on the care of unaccompanied or separated migrant children. The recent aggression of Ukraine by the Russian Federation has once again separated families and thrown many unaccompanied minors onto the roads of Europe, minors who find themselves at the mercy of all smugglers and mafias.

However, this phenomenon is unfortunately not new. My country, France, has been experiencing it for a number of years, with children coming not from the East but from the southern shore of the Mediterranean. The National Assembly has, on numerous occasions, examined the subject through information missions and commissions of inquiry.

A few simple principles should guide us.

First, the unaccompanied minor is a minor. They must, therefore, benefit from the protection due to them. There can be no difference between migrant and non-migrant children.

The second principle is that it is absolutely necessary to evaluate the age of majority, in order not to endanger children by mixing them with adults who are concerned by other measures.

There are no miracle recipes for assessing minority, I know that, and all ideas are welcome for this purpose.

Furthermore, we must strengthen the childcare systems in our respective countries and the multiplication of care solutions, within institutions but also in foster families.

Finally, it is necessary to prepare the exit from this care, either by a return to the family of origin or simply by the passage to adulthood. It is striking to note that former unaccompanied children are still over-represented among homeless adults. Here again, we really have some work to do.

Of course, I support these draft reports. They make a number of proposals and, with regard to children, notably the establishment of the European network of foster families. The members of the European Parliament must take this on board. In my opinion, it is an absolute necessity.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam.

Now Ms Petra BAYR.

Ms Petra BAYR

Austria, SOC


Thank you very much.

First of all, I would like to congratulate all three rapporteurs for these three really important reports.

I would like to focus on the one by Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK - because I believe that if women are not involved in the reconstruction of societies, there is a huge risk that the new societies will look exactly like the old ones did.

These are mostly societies that have a very hard time resolving conflicts; a very hard time coming to a dispute culture that is not an aggressive one, but a problem-centered one; and a very hard time really getting out of this spiral of conflict.

We need progress in dispute resolution and in transformation of conflicts. That's why women simply have to play a central role in all phases of conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

In this context, I would like to congratulate Ukraine very, very warmly on the decision taken in parliament on Monday to ratify the Istanbul Convention. This is a very important step, because if there are good, legal possibilities to counter domestic violence, sexual violence, violence against women and to punish them, then this also has an impact on the way society deals with violence in general.

That's why this is such an important basis. Maria and I already talked about it on Monday. It would be very good if a second ratification followed, namely that of the Rome Statute, because I am also convinced that the International Criminal Court can also offer all people in Ukraine in this conflict the protection, the legal, judicial protection, that they need very, very urgently and should really enjoy.

United Nations Resolution 1325, or United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, I think gives us very good guidance on how women can get more rights, more representation, and also more resources in conflicts. How they can really be included, how they can be empowered, enabled to take control of and be able to improve their own destiny, but also the destiny of their country, their society, their communities, their cities, their businesses, whatever.

One more individual comment. In the next few months I will be working on a report on the subject of sexual violence in conflicts. I will be looking at, on the one hand, how this works with jurisdiction, how it works with international treaties, how it also works well to secure evidence so that the rapists really are sentenced in the same way as those in the chain of command who look the other way or who even give the orders; but also see how to support victims very concretely legally, psychologically, medically and help them. I am very grateful to Ms. Yevheniia KRAVCHUK that I will be able to build on her wonderful report.

All the best in the implementation.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now we move to Mr Serhii SOBOLIEV.


Ukraine, EPP/CD


Thank you, Mister Chairman.

I want to start my speech and say thank you to all of you: to politicians, to your governments, to millions of your citizens who are doing all in order to protect Ukrainians, Syrians, and a lot of other nations from the atrocities of war.

The bloody dictator Putin can't even imagine that we will be so united in such circumstances.

Now, when a lot of children and women in Europe find their relatives, real relatives, they never saw these people before, but they opened their houses for them. They do all. Your governments do all in order to protect civilians in your countries.

But we have to know and understand who is responsible for all of this. If we never remember this, I think it is very dangerous.

Because the one who started the wars in Africa, in Syria, is the same bloody regime of Putin, but sometimes, we keep silence.

Who is also responsible? Not only Putin. We must understand this. The responsibility of the those millions of Russian soldiers who came to Ukraine, to Syria, to Africa, who kill people. It's a responsibility of all those who support Putin's regime in Moscow, in Saint Petersburg, in other cities. Not only supporting them in their meetings, but who also remain silent. It's all those people's responsibility who gave the possibility to such a bloody dictator, Putin, to kill everybody he wants.

It's very important to understand that all those people, millions and millions, because if I say these figures, cold figures, it's nothing. One life of one girl or one boy is more than figures in millions. It's very important to understand all these people, not because they want to live in Europe, not in Ukraine.

You know that just during one month more than three million Ukrainians returned back home. Not because they received bad hospitality from your citizens, but because they want to rebuild their country. Just when our regions became free from the Russian invasion, all of them began to return home.

I think these reports answer many questions, but we need to do more.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now we move to Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO.


Ukraine, EC/DA


Thank you, very much.

Dear colleagues, we're discussing humanitarian consequences of this awful war which Russia started against Ukraine, and first of all, like my colleagues, I want to say thank you.

Thank you to all people who are supporting Ukrainian refugees.

Thank you, merci beaucoup, vielen Dank, ačiū, paldies, dziękuję bardzo.

I want to thank all people who really opened the doors of their homes for everybody who needs it.

I want to thank those Polish people who came to the border, waiting for Ukrainians and taking in from the border, people whom they never knew. I want to say mulțumesc to those Romanians who did the same. And that is so touching. Even now I am speaking and my heart is beating. Thank you so much!

And what does it mean? It means we often speak here and in other places about the decline of Europe, about problems in European civilisation.

No! Europe is alive. European civilisation is alive. When hundreds of millions of people can sacrifice their lives for other people whom they never knew, it is something unbelievable in human history. It shows us that these core basis, core values are inside our civilisation, they are alive. Capitalism: no, consumerism: no, they have not killed it. And never will kill it. Because people are alive and their souls are alive.

But, what is very important also, even if people are alive and these values are alive, when we need to see also businesses be socially responsible – we need to see politicians also understanding this.

I want to tell you a small story. In the Southern part of Ukraine, Ukrainian forces took a Russian tank in the battle, and I was there with our soldiers, I was inside this tank. And I saw this T90, a very modern Russian tank – Vladimir – like Vladimir Putin – that was killing Ukrainians. I came [went] inside the tank and what did I find there? I find the night vision is from France. There is a photo, and a video on my YouTube account, Twitter, and Facebook – please, come and see it. I have this photo with me – Thales Optronique – and it was sent to Russia, sold to Russia after 2014 because that was a brand new tank.

That means we found German details in Russian weaponry, we found Swiss details in Russian weaponry, and it means when the German, French, and Swiss people are opening the doors of their homes, some of their companies are sending weapons to kill Ukrainians and to make them refugees. That's something which we could not accept – never, ever. And I address to you. Let's stop it. Let's be united in reality.

There is no difference between policy and business and economics. It's often said there is. Oh economy is like economy, politics is like politics. No! We should be integrated with these values in our hearts, like all Europeans show to everybody.

Thank you very much.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Mister Oleksii GONCHARENKO.

Now Ms Nerea AHEDO from Portugal.

Ms Nerea AHEDO

Spain, ALDE


The truth is that it is not easy to deal with three reports in three minutes. Although they are all connected, they are three different reports. I will try to be very brief.

The Russian invasion is going to have appalling economic and humanitarian consequences, and this is going to be true in Ukraine and the rest of Europe. What we need to do is see how far these consequences are going to go and what we need to do to resolve the consequences.

Now, women. We are always dual victims, and we are also used as war weapons. Generally, we try to maintain life and provide care. In my village, it would be called both an unpaid and unfulfilling job. Now I encourage all the men in this room to look at what is done and look at how to care for someone. As well as knowing how to care, we know how to lead. If we have to fight, we do fight, but generally, we resolve conflicts with less testosterone. What I would like to say is that mainstreaming gender in all of our policies is vital and the greater equality we have, the better it will be when we have women making decisions.

Minors. Now, these are children and teenagers, whether they are accompanied migrants or not, wherever they come from, the important thing is that they are young people. The main thing here is the best interest of the children: how we can support them and how we can care for them. This is what we are trying to do and there is nothing to add to what has been said already in the reports. 

I would like to underline the fact that we must show solidarity and we must be co-responsible. 

I wanted to make two points now. 

Firstly, the situation in Ukraine is appalling. That is absolutely clear, but there are thousands of "Ukraines" in the rest of the world which we forget and which have humanitarian consequences. Therefore, we must do everything we possibly can for Ukraine, but we must not forget the other crises and we must not set aside all the other "Ukraines" that we have in the world. We have got too much work to do but we must tackle it. 

The second thought is this: I think we have a great challenge that worries me. It worries me because we humans get saturated, and we're reaching a saturation point with Ukraine, unfortunately. Besides the fact we're getting saturated, we show more solidarity the less we are directly affected by the consequences of a conflict. I think we might be getting used to Ukraine, and that would be terrible. Also, it has more and more of a direct impact on us. We citizens here and now see the energy supply and where inflation is because of price hikes. This matters to us in everyday life.

My great concern is how we politicians are going to work with our citizens who defend international order, human rights, words against force. Democracy carries a price, and we have to be ready to pay it.

Thank you. 


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much and I apologise for describing you from Portugal when you're actually from Spain.

Now we definitely move to somebody from Portugal - Mr Pedro CEGONHO.


Portugal, SOC


Thank you, Mister President.

Dear colleagues,

This joint debate leads us to think and to be proactive facing the consequences of the migration concerned with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

The President of the Portuguese Parliament declared a few days ago, on World Refugee Day, that refugees are all those who have to leave their land because there lives are at risk there, because of war, violence, persecution, or extreme deprivation.

We have an obligation to protect them every day of the year.

Nowadays, it is essential to answer the emergency in Ukraine and that Ukrainian people are living now. These real problems must be solved with the solidarity of all European countries.

We must congratulate the rapporteur when he recognises the key role of local and regional authorities in addressing the dire humanitarian consequences faced by citizens, aware that needs our best assessed at local and regional sources.

In the meantime, Portugal has granted temporary protection to more than 42 000 Ukrainians, the vast majority of them being women.

Our country has issued more than 37 000 certificates, granting residence permits under the temporary protection regime. This certificate, issued after the national health service, social security, and tax authorities intervention, enables refugees to start working and access all support.

These requests to temporary protection have been authorised for more than 12 000 children and young teens representing around 30% of the total. Out of these minors, 700 have arrived in our country without parents or legal representatives, cases in which they are considered to be in present or in imminent danger.

Portugal is deeply committed to promoting the rights of migrants. Our country has created centres to provide services for migrants. These centres were awarded by the United Nations Public Service Prize in 2019. These services that migrant women most requested concerned housing, entrance into the labour market, and the registration of children. There were 149 centres established to increase migrant access to these services.

Whoever, whenever, wherever. Everyone has the right to seek protection from states that practice democracy and the rule of law.

Thank you for the floor, Mister Chair.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much indeed.

Now is Ms Arusyak JULHAKYAN in the hemicycle?

No, I don't think so.

Then we go to Ms Margreet De BOER.

Ms Margreet De BOER

Netherlands, SOC


Thank you.

First I want to compliment all three rapporteurs for their very relevant report.

Combining the reports underlying the urgency of this debate and the coherence between the reports, several topics are more than once mentioned underlining that these are important issues.

I will name a few: the protection, care, and support for refugees and displaced persons, and in particular children; the focus on education, and the need for rebuilding society - literally by rebuilding houses, schools, and hospitals, and more figuratively by community and peace building, in which women should play an important role.

I fully endorse this.

I fully understand the resolutions we are voting for today.

However, I think that not all humanitarian consequences of the war got the attention they deserved in the reports discussed today.

I think, for example, of the consequences of access to healthcare during and after the war, and of the psychological treatment for victims and witnesses of war crimes, and for soldiers when they come home from the front.

I also think of specific or extra severe consequences for vulnerable groups.

Also on these issues, Ukraine and Ukrainians living in their country or abroad will need our support. It would be good to call member states to also provide this support.

And of course the humanitarian consequences of this war of aggression are numerous. It is impossible to address them all in a report without making it unreadable.

So please do not interpret my contribution as criticism, but rather as a footnote to all your valuable work.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

And now we move to Mr Vladimir VARDANYAN.

Not here, Okay.

Then it's Mr Miroslav ŽIAK.

Mr Miroslav ŽIAK

Slovak Republic, ALDE


Dear Mister Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ,

I want to appreciate your trip to Slovakia and Ukraine after the beginning of the Russian invasion. I'm proud that the Slovakian after this know how to cooperate and coordinate with each other in helping Ukrainian refugees.

I must also appreciate the non-government organisations, civic associations, and local authorities that have done everything in their power to help the refugees from Ukraine.

If I may have a question, I would like to ask how the activity was coordinated with the other international institutions, in particular the United Nation and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe?

Where do you, please, see the synergy and a contribution of international organisations in solving such a complex issue?

And, finally, I support your report.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much indeed, that was a very brief contribution.

Thank you very much.

Is Mr Domagoj HAJDUKOVIĆ  here?

No, it doesn't look like it.

Then we move on to Mr Éctor Jaime RAMÍREZ BARBA. (Put the microphone on.)




Thank you.

I would like to congratulate the Committee on its report and its resolution which seeks to provide care for unaccompanied and separated children in Europe.

Despite their right to protection and special care, in reality they end up being detained and sometimes abandoned on the street or caught up in smuggling or trafficking networks.

We agree that alternative care should be provided, giving priority to family community care as the best form of protecting unaccompanied or separated migrant children.

In order to guarantee the best interests of the children, it is important to draw on family placement as an opportunity for migrant children.

In order to achieve the best possible results we need human rights-based training courses which need to be developed and established for professionals and for families involved in alternative care.

We would like to take the opportunity of this report to congratulate all the various civil society organisations that have been involved, like the Fundación Nidos, Colectivo Meta (COMETA) and the Spanish Red Cross, which are mentioned in the report too.

Latin America has suffered a great deal because of the chronic impact of poverty, violence and limited access to health care and education - and then there was the pandemic. 

Now, Mexico is a country where thousands and thousands of migrants are coming from Central America like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

According to UNICEF, between January and March 2021, the number of migrant children increased by a factor of nine. In many Mexican shelters, children represent 30% of the migrant population. Half of them are unaccompanied, they don't have their parents with them, which is the biggest ever proportion recorded in Mexico. 

Our law prohibits detention and promotes the best interest of the child; we have alternative care options for migrant children such as our Open Door Refugees and specialised options and also, we can place them in families.

We'd like to make a guide available which we have developed which has been designed by the Federal Government and the Latin American Network for Family Placement. 

We are making public resources available for mechanisms for follow-up and the evaluation of actions in terms of alternative care with the participation of international observers.


The challenge that we face in Europe and Latin America is a huge one: providing migrant children with a better development and the opportunity for better prospects and to enjoy their lives.

I therefore encourage you all to support this resolution. You will have full support from Mexico.

Thank you for your attention.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Sir.

Ms Lesia VASYLENKO is next.


Ukraine, ALDE


Thank you, Chair.

Dear colleagues,

I begin by thanking the five rapporteurs and I would especially like to highlight the efforts of my colleagues from the Ukrainian delegation. I am so proud to see today in the rapporteur seats Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK and Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA. They have produced a remarkable result and work through the reports despite extensive participation in humanitarian efforts and war efforts in Ukraine. They are just one example of how Ukrainians have learned to live with war in the background and in some regions, such as Kharkiv, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk very much in the foreground of everyday life.

Despite the extra burden of war and responsibility to stop Russia's aggression from spreading through Europe, we in Ukraine continue to do our best to function normally and contribute to the development of European society. All in spite of the fact that sometimes we stop to cry at the loss of close friends who are being killed by Russian soldiers, just like we did today with my other colleague Larysa BILOZIR just before this sitting. And when we cry we ask when will all of this end. When will there actually be a "never again" instead of "yet again"?

I feel compelled to point out that today we commemorate the day of victims of war; of the bloody war which started eight decades ago the 22 June with the Nazi invasion at 4 a.m. and which took the lives of 35 million Europeans, 10 million of whom were Ukrainian. Today, history repeats itself. Just four months ago, on 24 February at 4 a.m., Russia escalated its aggression. In 120 days of war by the most conservative estimates, Russia has taken the lives of at least 15 000 Ukrainians, 324 of them, children. But the count still goes on because the killings go on.

As a result of this war, 13 million Ukrainians have been displaced, 8 million internally and 5 million were forced to flee abroad. Two-thirds of them are women and children. Statistics show that 1.3 million have been displaced to Russia. In fact, this displacement is nothing else but illegal deportation happening yet again in the middle of Europe and the middle of the 21st century. The killings, the deportations, the making of Ukraine unlivable is all, in fact, evidence of Russia committing the crime of crimes against Ukraine: the crime of genocide.

Today, seven members of this organisation have recognised this fact. Poland, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Ireland and Canada, you have all condemned Russia's acts against Ukraine as genocide, and I thank you for this. I urge the other members of this Assembly to follow suit and to recognise Russia's actions as genocide against Ukraine.

But most importantly, we must remember that Russia is acting the way it is, committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, aggression, just because it has always been allowed to get away with it. It has never been punished for any of the wrongdoings it has committed throughout history and it is time to change that. We must restore historical justice, first of all, we can start with the recognition of the 1932-33 Holodomor, the man-made famine induced in Ukraine by Russia as genocide. And then we must go on to punish Russia for all the wrongdoings it has been doing.

I end, although there are many more important points that are raised from the reports today, but I end by saying thank you to all the countries who have wholeheartedly opened the doors to Ukrainians and who have welcomed and provided a safe haven to the Ukrainian children, the future of Ukraine and who have helped in so preserving the Ukrainian nation. 

Thank you. 


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, indeed.

Now, Mr Paulo PISCO, from Portugal.

Mr Paulo PISCO

Portugal, SOC


Thank you, Chairman.

Europe and Ukraine are living in a dramatic situation because of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, with also a flow of displaced persons as we haven't seen since the Second World War.

Leaving everything behind – family, friends, and possessions – this means dangers and risks, especially to the most vulnerable, like women, children, young people and non-accompanied minors, who are the majority of the refugees.

The international community must be alert and use all its resources to fight against any kind of practices that could hurt human dignity, especially human trafficking and sexual abuse and exploitation.

My congratulations to all three rapporteurs, for their very important work, full of humanity and worries about how to protect fundamental rights and the dignity of life - the core values of the Council of Europe.

We know that host countries do not all have the same capacity to help and support refugees – even if they are willing to receive them with open arms.

Therefore, it is important to follow what is really happening in the field to guarantee the conditions for adequate treatment in terms of education, healthcare, employment, psychological support, and integration.

But it is also important to avoid any kind of discrimination that any particular group can experience - either minorities or people from third countries, also forced to leave Ukraine because of the war - especially if they are under international protection with refugee status, as is pointed out in the report of our colleague Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ. This is very critical, for instance, in the accession to medical universities. It is happening in some countries, also in my country, in Portugal - for which, I'm sorry; to even take into consideration the autonomy of the universities.

While Ukrainian people are having an easier way to get their inscriptions for studying, which is very positive, other students from third countries are facing big difficulties to be accepted, even whilst being under international protection.

No discrimination is acceptable, even more, when they go against international treaties.

I also would like to call your attention to another kind of displaced person - those who have been taken by force to the territories of the Russian Federation or who are under the control of pro-Russian armies.

Nobody knows exactly how many there are, where they are, and in which conditions they are, although there exists, in some cases, information about attempts of Russification, bad treatment, and even torture.

This is very worrying and the Council of Europe should know more about this subject.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much indeed.

And now we go to Mr Dara CALLEARY.


Ireland, ALDE


Thank you, Chairman.

I want to commend the rapporteurs, the Secretariat, and everybody involved in these reports, and particularly to commend our Ukrainian colleagues. To be a rapporteur at any stage for a PACE report is quite a task. To take it on in such a time of national and personal challenge, we are particularly grateful to you.

Mister Chairman, as this debate proceeded, the Irish Times published a story online about a 12-year-old Ukrainian girl who came from Kharkiv with her grandmother. She was accompanied to Dublin after some traumatic journey. She chronicled that journey and she's publishing a book in the Autumn of this year; of her chronicle. The book will be called "You don't know what war is. The diary of a young girl from Ukraine," and she says in that, after her journey, "everyone knows what the word war means, but practically no-one knows what this word really represents."

Let's bear that quote from a 12-year-old, accompanied, in mind as we discuss this report here this evening.

Because reports – we seem to debate so many – but that is the word of somebody who took the journey, who went through the experience, and who now has the courage to share that experience. We will bring that to you here when we meet again in October 2022.

In relation to the second report on "Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation," that is required reading for our high-level group as they reflect on the role. All three reports are actually required reading for the high-level group as they reflect on the role of the Council of Europe.

But I note in the migration report, in the third report, that it refers to the role of the Council of Europe Development Bank as it begins to rebuild Ukraine. It is essential that we have that ambition and that urgency.

But why not link that funding to the findings of the second report?

Unless our female parliamentarians, who have been so brave here since Thursday 24 of February 2022, unless they are represented in rebuilding Ukraine; unless every sector of the Ukrainian population is represented in rebuilding Ukraine – and rebuilding any country that has come from war – their funding should be linked to full-representation and full-equality.

I draw attention again to the statistic in the proposed amendments from the 2015 United Nations Security Council recommendation, that found that women's participation increases by 35% the probability of a peace agreement lasting 15 years. That's a statistic that nobody can deny, and we have to make this real.

Finally, Chair, I think the full migration report, the role of re-opening our office in Kyiv is essential to all of these three reports, to have an on the ground presence, to have a presence of ambition on behalf of the Council of Europe.

As I said at the beginning, all three reports should go to the high-level report. This is what the Council of Europe is about. It maybe lost its mission, but it can re-find its mission by implementing and pursuing these reports in the finest traditions of this institution.

Thank you, Chairman.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, indeed.

Now we go to Ms Luz MARTINEZ SEIJO.


Spain, SOC


Thank you, President.

Spain has a long history of hosting unaccompanied migrant children, mainly coming from Africa, whose gateway to Spain and Europe is usually through the south of Spain or the Canary Islands. A figure of nearly 9 000 children who are alone. We do have experience and what that's why we agree with this report, that seeks to guarantee basic and accessory care for children who are alone. Indeed their basic needs that states must provide. All stated in the report, but there is missing an essential lack: the right to education, which is not included.

This is a basic right. Education helps to normalise migrant children situations. That is remarkable means for integration. That's why I have suggested an amendment that I hope will encounter your support. Children care requires an enormous coordination between the different public administrations of member states.

For instance, in Spain, financing and coordination procedures have been established at the different critical moment of massive reception of children coming alone, to balance the distribution of children, and adapt them to the capacity of the different regions and their resources. For us the great challenge that lies ahead is to adopt a reception system that allows a real integration for those children that will permanently stay in and lay the channels for the transition to adult life in the host country.

Now we are facing an unexpected situation shared by all the countries in Europe. We cannot ignore the dramatic crisis that the cruel invasion of Ukraine has brought to millions of people. The exodus of millions of Ukrainians to other countries has meant the necessary adaptation of our social and educational systems to provide a response to thousands of children who have arrived in our countries.

And we must ensure the learning process and the link with other the children of their age. The drama they have experienced is out of imagination. Without a doubt financial help is necessary to provide care, but in my opinion psychological support is essential in a difficult process not to lived before. Leaving their homes, the horror of a war, death, and arriving to a strange country with a different culture and language. We can only imagine the harshness of the situation that these children go through.

My last words appeal to our responsibilities as politicians, but mainly as human beings. We must not allow the differentiation that the extreme right wants to make of migrant children. Origin or race cannot be excuses to deprive children of rights. We must not give in to the demand of the extreme right to care only for European children but exclude children coming from Africa or other continents from protection. We must never forget the rights of children and we must do our best to preserve them.

Thank you very much.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

And now Ms Larysa BILOZIR.


Ukraine, ALDE


Dear Mister President,

Dear Colleagues,

The three reports on the humanitarian consequences of war, on people fleeing the war, refugee children, women, are of the utmost importance.

As the war in Ukraine has caused the largest and fastest displacement of people in Europe, almost 40% of Ukrainians fled the war and became displaced persons internally or externally.

We all see how many lives, homes, jobs, and hopes were destroyed in the last 190 days of full scale war.

I want to thank the rapporteurs Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK and Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ for the enormous work they have done not only by preparing these reports, but also so much that they have done in practice to protect the most vulnerable people: women and children.

Mariia continuously, when she is not on the diplomatic front, spends her time in her constituency, Kharkiv, despite severe bombing, helping people, bringing them food and medicine.

Today Kharkiv is under severe attacks. Only yesterday, 15 people there were killed, including a child. While her heart is broken, she still managed to stand before you with her report on children migrants.

Yevheniia is the one who stands for women rights and contributes a lot in our Parliament for the voice of women to be heard.

With Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ we would go to bomb shelters together during the alarm sirens while he was visiting Ukraine, while he was writing this report.

This war brings people closer than ever.

While the Russian enemy came to our home trying to delete my country from the Earth and the map, with cluster, vacuum, thermobaric, and phosphorus bombs and missiles, forbidden by the Geneva Convention, it will not stop Putin together by fighting, isolating Russia and providing Ukraine with necessary weapons. I'm sure there will be more. More biological, chemical, nuclear weapons. There will be more displaced persons, killed children, destroyed hospitals, schools, churches, shot columns of refugees.

In April I was standing before you and telling you that we have already 10 000 residential houses destroyed. Now it's 20 000. Almost one million people lost their homes. Already 324 children have been killed. What is not a genocide? Among the signs of genocide are filtration camps and forced deportation of children.

Lastly, I wanted to thank you, to say words of gratitude for all the members of the Council of Europe for helping our children. This is where we are. We are part of the free world and real world, and this is what we fight for.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much indeed.

Now do we have Ms Etilda GJONAJ in the hemicycle?

No, then I move back to Canada and Ms Salma ZAHID.

Ms Salma ZAHID



Thank you, Mister President.

Esteemed colleagues and fellow parliamentarians,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to these critically important topics today. The Women, Peace, and Security Agenda is now more than 20 years old. The notion that peace processes and political reconciliation need to incorporate women and account for the gendered effects of conflict has since become an established principle in international peace studies.

And we have seen progress. Between 1992 and 2019, 13% of peace negotiators were women; but in 2020, women represented 23% of delegates in UN supported peace processes. Yet these numbers can, and should, leave us underwhelmed. Significant progress is still required. For example, while a quarter of national parliamentarians around the world are women, the percentage is less than 20% in post-conflict countries. Showing that women still struggle for a political voice during peace and reconciliation periods.

We need to keep moving forward, because twenty years of experience has only reaffirmed what supporters of Women, Peace and Security knew from the start: that the involvement of women in peace processes and political reconciliation leads to better outcomes for everyone. We know that the participation of women and civil society makes peace agreements more durable and less likely to fail. That higher rates of gender equality are associated with lower rates of conflict, both between and within states.

I am proud to say that Canada has been a world leader in advancing the agenda since its inception. Canada voted for Resolution 1325 when we last served on the UN Security Council in 2000 and we are currently implementing our second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

As part of the plan, Canada appointed its first Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security in 2019. With a whole of government mandate to advise on and support Canada’s action plan implementation, Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill has assisted government departments and Canada’s missions abroad while also representing Canada internationally, including promoting the implementation of national action plans in partner countries.

As we witness the grave humanitarian consequences of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the importance of the values that anchor the WPS Agenda become clear. A Rapid Gender Analysis of conflict by CARE and UN Women found that the conflict exacerbated existing gender inequalities in Ukraine and that women activists, journalists and human rights defenders were at an increased risk of persecution. Despite this, the report also noted that women were playing a crucial role in the humanitarian response.

As we continue to address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and look to the possibility of a peaceful resolution to the conflict, we must place the principles of the WPS Agenda at the centre of our efforts.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much indeed.

Now Ms Inka HOPSU. Is she here?


Finland, SOC


Mister President, dear colleagues,

First, I would like to thank the rapporteurs for these excellent rapports.

UNICEF estimates that there were about 36 million migrant children in 2020 fleeing war, climate change or perhaps leaving their homes in the hope of a better future. Whatever the reason, a child is still only a child: in need of protection, care and support.

I am especially pleased that Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVAs report focuses on the care and leaving care for unaccompanied migrant children. Experiences of war, displacement and migration in childhood can become an inter-generational trauma for both children and parents passed on to future generations. Therefore, long-term transition plans are vital to support refugee children in their integration after reaching adulthood.

I fully agree that whenever possible, reuniting children with their families should be our top priority. It is important for a child’s balanced development to be able to establish safe and lasting relationships with close caregivers, and for a child's linguistic development, to be able to speak and study their own mother tongue. These ingredients give a child a better foundation to cope with the uncertainty that fleeing home certainly brings to one’s life.

As an example, let me share with you the experiences of Finnish war children. During the Second World War, nearly 80 000 unaccompanied children aged 1-14 were evacuated from Finland to our neighbouring Nordic countries. Their stories underline the profound effects of displacement on their families, friends, relatives, and schools. On the other hand, their stories show how strong their relationships with their new families, and new countries had become. Many Finnish children experienced a new trauma when pulled away from their new siblings, new (often wealthier) homes, schools and new languages. Many of them had forgotten Finnish, their mother tongue.

Children’s well-being depends on more than sufficient food, care, and safe circumstances. To support their psychological development, children need safe and stable relationships with their carers. For the children’s linguistical development it is important to be able to speak your native language. When we make decisions on today’s war children and refugees, we could take advantage of research done and the lessons learnt from the experiences, stories, and destinies of Finnish war children and their families.

Thank you.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you too.

Now the floor is for Ms Hilkka KEMPPI, from Finland.

Ms Hilkka KEMPPI

Finland, ALDE


Mister President, dear colleagues,

I want to thank you for the excellent report on women in peace reconciliation. Although I find the message of the report very important, I hoped for more concrete proposals.

The war in Ukraine has reminded us that there are very few women in leading security policy or business roles. Of the leaders of Europe’s largest companies, only 10% are women. And we saw it in our parliaments. 

Most of the experts our Parliament heard in relation to the war in Ukraine were men. This is nothing to be proud of. It must be said that the catalogue of war and peace is very masculine and manly. Women need to be empowered and encouraged more.

The aim of the UN Resolution 1325 ”Women, peace and security” is to strengthen the role and empower women in conflict prevention, ending war and building peace as well as increasing women’s security. In 2016, 40% of the crisis management experts Finland sent abroad were women but the EU average is still 20%. We must continue to endorse this resolution. This process should involve all of society.

We should also discuss the importance of teaching preparedness skills and allowing women to take part in military service. Finland is finally piloting female conscription. I think that is important not to separate women and men in military service as it helps in changing the masculine view of peace and security. Thank you for mentioning that in the report.

We need more efforts to stop violence against women. The war in Ukraine has shown us that raw force against women and children is still used as a weapon of warfare. Tackling sexual violence should be an integral part of peace processes. I welcome the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by Ukraine, which shows that even in the middle of war it is possible to make a change for women and to advance human rights protection.

Research shows that including women improves the chances of achieving a peace agreement as well as durable peace. We must strengthen the inclusion of women in official peace negotiations and high-level decision-making forums.

I support the amendments as well. Thank you. 


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam KEMPPI.

Now it is Ms Lise SELNES. The floor is yours.


Norway, SOC



First of all, let me thank the rapporteurs for presenting this important and timely report.

Millions of people are being forced to flee Ukraine due to war. Such a massive movement of people, who unwillingly must stop their lives temporarily, is a first in Europe in our time. All the countries that receive and welcome Ukrainian refugees must make sure that they take the necessary steps so that the refugees have the possibility to live fulfilling lives in dignity, when living outside their own country.

The Norwegian government has granted temporary collective protection for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. Refugees with temporary collective protection are granted a residence permit in Norway. So far 20 000 refugees have arrived in Norway.

Even if it is challenging both for the refugees and the hosting countries not to know for how long the displacement will last, it is important that we provide opportunities so that they can live rich and complete lives. The Norwegian government has taken several steps in order to do this; steps that are also outlined in the report by Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ.

Displaced people and refugees from Ukraine must receive the assistance they need to live in dignity and be given the possibility to face the future.

The Norwegian government is providing financing to universities and institutions of higher education so that they can admit 1 000 new students from Ukraine.

For the Norwegian government, it is important that refugees from Ukraine, who want to pursue higher education while they are in Norway, get the opportunity to do so.

This is one example that illustrates the wide range of measures you need to consider in order to provide for a diverse group of Ukrainian refugees.


In solidarity and respect for refugees coming from Ukraine, we must act now and at the same time keep a longer perspective in mind.

For as long as it is needed, we must make it possible to live rich and complete lives in the best possible way.

Solidarity with Ukraine from Norway.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you too and to the Norwegian government also.

Now another speaker from Norway, Ms Lise CHRISTOFFERSEN. The floor is yours, okay.


Norway, SOC


Mister President, dear colleagues.

In this joint debate we have three important reports in connection with the Russian aggressive warfare against Ukraine. I would like to comment on the first one. Let me thank our rapporteur, Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, for presenting a report with very specific recommendations and points of action, targeted at Ukraine itself, neighbouring countries and countries a little further afield. In fact, Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ has provided us with a checklist, most useful in our national parliaments.

We have all opened our borders for people fleeing bombing and terror. Nevertheless, Ukraine itself and some neighbouring countries share the heaviest burden and need our assistance.

As the report correctly underlines, the humanitarian consequences of the war will not be resolved in the short term. For this reason it is very important that our member states ensure their continued, long-term coordinated support. Refugees and displaced persons need a guarantee that they will get all necessary assistance to live in dignity. We also have the duty to reassure all Ukrainians hope for the future, we must show them that we will stand by as time comes for reconstruction. That is in our common interest. Coordinated preparations should start immediately.

Meanwhile we must offer necessary humanitarian crisis management of high quality, with a special focus on the most vulnerable – women, children, third country nationals, stateless people, and Roma. Our health services have to prepare for receiving people with severe trauma, among them women and children who are victims of sexual warfare. We need special focus on protecting people against trafficking and other forms of exploitation. We need proper housing, good facilitating in schools and kindergartens, mobilising of civil society to integrate refugees in our local communities.

Last, but not least, we should not forget that those who have fled Ukraine, are competent people, with qualifications needed in our societies. In Norway for instance, we are short of labour. To the benefit of all, we should pay far more attention in making a perfect match between Ukrainian refugees and their diaspora associations, employers, sports teams, cultural organisations and other organisations in local civil society.

That is also in our best common interest.

Thank you.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam Lise CHRISTOFFERSEN.

Now is Lord Andrew ADONIS in the hall? 

The floor is yours.

Lord Andrew ADONIS

United Kingdom, SOC



We can and should do more to help Ukrainian refugees.

Approximately 15 million Ukrainians have been displaced either internally or forced to seek sanctuary abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine four months ago.

There are good recommendations in these reports about what they need.

However the single biggest contribution we can make to the plight of refugees is to help Ukraine to win this war of aggression started by Mr Vladimir Putin's Russia, and send the invaders back home.

Our colleague Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO, in his two brilliant speeches today and yesterday, set out the case compellingly, and in particular that in Mr Vladmir Putin's Russia we are dealing with a "zombie empire" attacking its neighbours to keep itself alive.

We cannot allow this zombie empire to tyrannise its neighbours in a continuing fashion.

It is deeply concerning that promises of European and US military support for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government have not always resulted in the delivery of the necessary equipment and assistance that are needed urgently, now, to limit the flow of refugees.

Mister President,

We need to see NATO and the Council of Europe as two sides of the same coin: European power and European values working together in tackling this dictatorship.

They were founded together in the wake of the Second World War to keep Europe free and democratic and they need to work together much more closely.

For example, I think there should be a joint meeting of the Parliamentary Assemblies of the European Council and NATO.

The next biggest contribution we can make to enabling refugees to return to Ukraine is to win the peace which follows this war.

Building on their membership of the European Council, Ukraine should be brought into the EU and in due course also into NATO as soon as possible, as part of a new European order to end Russian imperialism in Europe.

We are in this crisis, Mr President, because of 20 years of half measures in resisting Mr Putin's imperialism.

If we're going to end it, and avoid a long ongoing refugee crisis that will mark the next 30 years and not enable many of these 15 million to return to their homeland, then the time for half-measures is surely over.

Yesterday we welcomed the Irish Presidency and the Irish foreign minister.

I'm reminded of those inspirational lines of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney:

History says don't hope on this side of the grave, but then once in a lifetime the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme.

In helping Ukraine win this war, and win the peace, and enable refugees to return, this could be one of Europe's moments when the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme.

We should pray that that is the case.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mister ADONIS. As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I found your proposal very positive. Thank you, Lord.

Now is Ms Yuliia OVCHYNNYKOVA online? Let's connect her from Ukraine. 

We cannot hear you. 


Ukraine, ALDE


Mister Chair,

First of all thank you very much to Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK and Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ for the excellent words. The largest tragedy in Europe, the biggest humanitarian catastrophe since the Second World War was unfolded before our eyes.

Bombs, shelling, levelling a large territory to the ground with destruction, hundreds of killed, thousands are kidnapped or captured. Millions lost their homes and are displaced. I don't have a home. This will become a symbol of this terrible tragedy of humanity in the 21st century.

I personally know what it literally means. I know how each word, each report, each number illustrated from the report looks like.

I have been an internally displaced person since 2014, when together with my sister's university I left Donetsk. I left my life behind and started a new life with my University in Vinnytsia. I started two new projects for internally displaced persons advocating for education for this life on the territory of an independent and European Ukraine, and studied in the Ukrainian universities and professional education institutions.

I understand what has been going on there for eight years.

Since February 2022, the Russian Federation has brought great sorrow to my country, to the entire democratic European world. Every day the war brings more and more grief and death to our country where free people defend their right to live in a sovereign country and prove their European choice.

With tears in my eyes, I am truly happy and grateful to you, colleagues, because of the great support for our country. Help us and insure that our citizens in need are protected by the member states of the Council of Europe.

You and your countries, at this particular moment, are standing with Ukraine at their best to create conditions and shelters and help continue living their lives on a peaceful territory.

But we, as members of the Parliamentary Assembly, need to be closer to them and communicate with the forced migrants, be more there and listen to their needs.

Ukrainian children need to learn the Ukrainian language, grow up in the Ukrainian culture as well as in your national countries. Adults need to learn the local language and find employment. Teenagers and young people should have space to meet.

The reports highlight one of the major challenges for the refugees from Ukraine, which is the recognition of their qualifications and professional rights in their regarding professions.

I hope that the European qualification passport for refuges comes into force soon and makes a significant change not only for refugees from Ukraine, but in general for political refugees.

The war will cost Ukraine a lot, but the prize is high. It's about a civilization choice for the next generation, for the whole world.

The humanitarian price for the environment and economic costs cannot be counted. I believe that global solidarity and togetherness with the insured implementation of the proposed measures will help to minimise and support Ukrainians in their communities of reception.

The Russian Federation must be made responsible for war crimes and for the global humanitarian crisis and genocide in Ukraine.

Thank you very much.

Glory to Ukraine and glory to Europe.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Okay. Thanks again.

Greetings and applause from the Hemicycle on behalf of all delegations, and we look forward to seeing you here.

Now, may I invite Ms Rosangela Amairany PEÑA ESCALANTE from Mexico to take the floor?

Ms Rosangela Amairany PEÑA ESCALANTE



Thank you, President.

In the March extraordinary session in this Hemicycle, I set out the position of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, which is aligned with the position of the Mexican government in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

We are appalled to see the thousands of lives war has already claimed at the start of the 21st century. This is something which is quite beyond all understanding when the world was only just emerging from one of the world's worst pandemics in modern history. We are faced with one of the most devastating economic crises, which is already spreading across the whole world.

Following my trip to Strasbourg last time, I took on a couple of tasks in seeking to discuss this scourge in the 21st century. I maintained a dialogue with mayors in Ukrainian cities. Secondly I convened an international forum to deal with the displacement and fleeing which has been caused for people who are in Ukraine and others who are having to leave Ukraine and go to neighbouring countries. The idea was to identify how intercultural policy is dealing with this challenge. This event was supported by the Council of Europe's Intercultural Cities programme. This is a programme which we have been working with for the last 10 years.

This invasion has implications on many fronts: the separations of millions of people from their families. This has led to huge waves of displaced people: girls, boys, teenagers, women and old people. They had no other choice but to flee from a situation simply to save their lives.

Those who have stayed behind in Ukraine, mainly in the occupied zones, are having to work out how to stay alive.

This has led to a huge internal displacement with unimaginable numbers of people in the country, and upholding human rights on the basis of international mechanisms is something which has been repeatedly violated. 

The waves of displacement to neighbouring nations have led so far to more than 6.5 million people being displaced because they were forced to leave their homes.

These are added to the people who have been internally displaced.

Despite the fact that there are more than 12 000 kilometres between Mexico and Ukraine, we are not unaware of the situation prevailing in a war zone.

Firstly, we have the unwavering commitment to protect the security of our citizens.

Secondly, because as part of our foreign policy, we are guided by our constitutional mandate, which means that we are already planning, together with the ambassador to Ukraine in Mexico, to open a consulate in the city of Hermosillo, the city which I represent, given that it is very close to the American Union and because it is a point of transit of migrants.

The future of Europe and of the whole world is focussed on what is happening today in Ukraine.

That is why any effort to help and understand the situation adds to our humanity, which is more necessary now than ever.

Thank you, sir.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thanks for the statement and for the attendance from far away.

Now may I invite Ms Yuliya LOVOCHKINA from Ukraine.


Ukraine, SOC


Chair, dear colleagues,

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all rapporteurs who have examined a sensitive issue both for the Ukrainian people, Ukraine and every member of our European family.

I would also like to thank every European citizen for standing shoulder to shoulder with us and lending your hands to the Ukrainian people.

The Russian war on Ukraine is the biggest armed clash in Europe after the Second World War. The unbearable ordeal Ukrainian people are going through is primarily taking its tragic toll on people's lives. In particular, more than 12 million Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes, whether displaced inside the country or fled across borders as refugees. Children, parents, couples and relatives are separated. It is unknown how many individuals have lost and will lose their lives and will never be reunited with their loved ones.

Since 2014, the issue of internally displaced Ukrainians has been on the Assembly's agenda. Now the situation is drastically changed. Ukraine, like the rest of Europe, is dealing with an unprecedented displacement crisis in its recent history. A lot has been said and I do not really want to repeat my colleagues and everyone who has spoken, I would like to draw your attention to several issues:

Impacts on education. The war has disrupted the education of 7.5 million children – this is our child population – who were living in Ukraine at the start of 2022. At least 1 900 schools have been damaged or destroyed by shelling and bombardments and we understand that a lack of education is alone a long-lasting consequence for our child population.

Impact on health. The risk of disease outbreaks, such as cholera, measles, diphtheria or even Covid-19, is growing due to the lack of access to water, sanitisation and hygiene, crowd conditions in bomb shelters and collective centres and we know that none of the diseases could be contained within a country; we learned that with Covid-19.

Financial difficulties. It is directly connected to every child and every family. Financial insecurity due to job loss, increased prices for food and fuel, and in the case of displacement, increased rent prices, is one the most common challenges for the entire population of Ukraine and we also have to consider that.

As it is set out in Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ's report, there is a drastic need for a humanitarian crisis management action plan, organisation of social housing, integration into society, the enrolment of children in schools, social protection, health and psychological support, access to employment, support programmes and many, many other things and I think this plan should be very well co-ordinating among all actors, European countries, Ukraine and individuals and organisations.

Thank you for your attention.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Now I give the floor to Mr Julian PAHLKE from Germany.

Mr Julian PAHLKE

Germany, SOC


Dear Mister President,

Dear Pierre-Alain,

Thank you so much for your excellent report. I'm glad that we're finally having chance to focus on the important details of protection for people on the move, especially after the last years of injustice against those fleeing. The injustice on the Mediterranean, the people drowning; the injustice on the Aegean Islands; and, of course, the injustice of the people drowning on the route towards the Canary Islands.

The grade of protection is unique within the European countries. This temporary protection narrative, is the first time in 21 years that we're proving that we can keep our humane face. Now we need to take care that nobody is played out against each other. Because nobody deserves it: neither the Ukrainians, nor third-country nationals, because the bombs are falling on everyone equally. We also need to focus on the humanitarian consequences and how Ukraine can be rebuilt.

Because I'm sure of one thing: that Ukraine will win this war. Until then we need to focus on the protection of the children, on the protection of the disabled, and, of course, on the protection of third-country nationals, because we need to overcome this underlying racism within the European system, where people are being treated differently by the colour of their skin, or by their passport. We need to overcome this blatant racism at our borders, but people are being discriminated against where access to protection is being denied.

It is not exceptional what the European countries have been doing. It seems exceptional because we're ultimately acting humanely towards those seeking protection.

Thank you.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you, especially for the emphasis against the discrimination among migrants and refugees.

Now may I invite Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, from Austria to take the floor?


Austria, SOC


Thank you very much Mr. President,

Austria is a neutral country and will remain neutral.

75% of the population and up to 85% want it that way, and it will stay that way. But that does not mean that we do not raise our voice and that we are not a great power in the field of humanitarianism and refugees. I thank all the authors of these reports for their content, and we have tried to set special accents in Austria.

There was a home in Ukraine for mentally and physically handicapped children; we have taken in all the children in one – including the staff – because especially mentally-handicapped children cannot understand change.

There are now 300 handicapped children from Ukraine in Tyrol. To ensure they did not have a long flight, we sent buses to Ukraine, which have picked up all of them. We have also helped Moldova, and have taken 2 000 Ukrainian refugees from Moldova – because the small and also hard-pressed country is not at all able to do that in this way.

We are very glad that the EU decided that we don't have to do refugee procedures, but that we have displaced person status. This means that every refugee from Ukraine – no matter if child or adult – gets immediate residence and immediate medical help. The children immediately get the opportunity to attend school – and that will remain for the next three years.

I think that creates a great deal of security. We must not overlook the fact that we also have many other refugees – and we do not want a two-tier society among people who need help. That means that there must be both: help for the displaced people from Ukraine, and help for people fleeing from other parts of the world. That is particularly important to us and just recently we have more and more refugees from Syria and from Afghanistan. "We will cope, we will do this. Wir schaffen das," I am quoting a former German politician there.

The focus on women is very important, particularly when it comes to unaccompanied children too, all this is quite appropriate and I would like to express my gratitude and I hope this resolution will achieve unanimity. 

Thank you.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Sir.

Now may I invite Mr Francesco SORBARA from Canada?

The floor is yours.

Mr Francesco SORBARA



Thank you, Chair.

Good afternoon, buona sera to all my honourable colleagues and parliamentarians.

I am honoured to be here today to speak to the humanitarian consequences of migration caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. I would first like to congratulate those in the room and all the member states who have already done so much to help the Ukrainian people. We Canadians have watched in admiration at the incredible generosity that Ukraine’s neighbours have shown to people fleeing the barbaric attacks on their country. You are the first step in what has become a global effort to help the Ukrainian people.

Witnessing such generosity is to see the values of the Council of Europe in action. It is an affirmation of the power of these values when they are needed most, and the strongest argument against the falsehoods put forward by the Russian government as justification for its actions. When Ukrainians sought safety, compassion, and understanding they headed West, not East. Towards Europe, not away from it.

We in Canada are proud to help in these efforts. Since the start of the war, the Canadian government has approved over 125 000 applications by Ukrainians for emergency travel to Canada. Canada has also committed $245 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and offered over $600 million in loans to the Ukrainian government.

The government of Canada has chartered flights for those needing help coming to Canada and worked with partners to launch the Ukraine2Canada Travel Fund, which allows Canadians to donate airline reward points towards the travel costs of Ukrainians. The fund has a goal of helping 10 000 Ukrainians come to Canada.

As we continue to watch the war in Ukraine grind on and witness the increasing destruction of Ukrainian towns and cities, we must look to how we can support Ukrainian migrants over the longer term. Simply, some of those who have fled no longer have a home to return to. Some will choose to stay in the places that have welcomed them, and they should be supported in doing so. For those that wish to return, reconstruction support will be essential.

As part of the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs, or REPO Task Force, Canada has committed, along with seven other governments, to “take all available legal steps to find, restrain, freeze, seize, and, where appropriate, confiscate, or forfeit the assets of those individuals and entities that have been sanctioned in connection with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine".

Legislation is currently before the Canadian parliament which will give the government authority to seize the assets of Russians implicated in the war against Ukraine and use those funds to finance reconstruction efforts.

In testimony before our Parliament, government officials stated that $85 million in assets have already been frozen through sanctions against Russia, though independent experts have speculated that the true value of assets potentially subject to confiscation could be in the hundreds of millions or even billions. Such efforts will not rebuild Ukraine by themselves, but repurposing the wealth of those who support Ukraine’s destruction sends a powerful message about our collective resolve to hold those responsible to account.

Thank you, Chair.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you. Good to hear from the Americas.

Now, we turn to Mexico, Madam Rocío ABREU, the floor is yours.

Ms Rocío ABREU



Thank you.

I would like to say that we recognise the huge effort that has been made in these reports.

The topic of the war is a terrible affliction for children and women in particular. This is because of the trauma that they are experiencing, because they have been displaced from their homes. It is a double victimisation when it comes to young people, minors who have to leave their homes and their families.

Mexico has not turned its back; we are a country showing solidarity and thinking of children arriving in Mexico. As my colleagues from Mexico have underlined, we are doing everything that we can to make sure that the people who have been subject to displacement - women and children and men can count on support.

We must continue to work together. We must particularly focus on the fact that we may be on a different continent, but we also face economic difficulties. We're not unaware of the difficulties for young people in our country. This displacement, and the price of energy and gas and oil - we can see that sources of energy are being used as a kind of economic blackmail.

This has a direct impact on the economy and on the household of each and every family. This is true throughout the world. The war is appalling for those who are living it face to face, but it is having a much greater effect throughout the world. We must therefore show solidarity.

I am also thinking of efforts being made by the European Parliament.

We are also in a situation where we are doing what we can in response to the pressing requests that are being made.

The question of displacement in Central America also goes along with the question of violence due to drug trafficking and because of the groups of young people - we can see the terrible things which have been afflicting families in Ukraine in particular, in recent times.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Now I return to Canada, Ms Anna ROBERTS. I hope she will give some information about more and cheaper energy for Europe.




Mister President,

Fellow Parliamentarians and Esteemed Colleagues,

I would like to first thank the committee and its rapporteurs for bringing these important issues before the Assembly today. While I am sure we could easily fill this time discussing any one of these topics, debating the Women, Peace and Security Agenda along with humanitarian issues related to migration makes a lot of sense because the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, at its core, is about preventing the humanitarian consequences of conflict. It is a recognition that inclusive societies and political systems, in which women participate meaningfully in decision-making, are the best means of preventing conflict.

Canada was an early supporter of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at the UN and continues to support a number of initiatives related to the Agenda. For example, Canada launched the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations to increase the participation of uniformed women in UN peace missions. This initiative seeks to have the UN practice what it preaches and do a better job of including women in operational roles in the field.

While we must continue to improve conflict prevention efforts, including through the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, sadly, we are also forced to face the results of conflicts today. UNICEF estimates that there were over 13 million child refugees and asylum seekers around the world in 2020. Nearly one third of all children living outside of their country of birth is a refugee. When these children are forced to cross borders unaccompanied or are separated from their families during often dangerous journeys, they become particularly vulnerable and in need of specialised support.

Receiving-country governments need to ensure that children’s rights are protected while partnering with civil society groups to provide the support they need, including access to education and mental health services. Wherever possible, children should be placed in community environments that promote integration and a return to normalcy. Civil society groups with government support are often better places to provide these kinds of environments than governments alone.

For example, in Toronto, a charity called Matthew House has been providing housing and other types of support to refugees and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, for more than 30 years. Support includes what they call “house parents,” volunteers who stay in the homes housing unaccompanied children to help “steer them in wise directions.”

These children need help, but we should not look at support as a necessary charity but as a wise long-term investment. Properly supported refugee children are more than capable of integrating into receiving countries and becoming valuable members of the communities that welcome them. We in Canada have welcomed refugee children for decades and are all the stronger for it.

Thank you.


Türkiye, NR, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam Anna ROBERTS.

I move to our President, Mr Tiny KOX.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


I want to say thank you to the representative of Canada, and that concludes the list of speakers.

A point of order from Mr Damien COTTIER?

Take care that it's a point of order, because I'm strict.


Switzerland, ALDE


Mister Chairman,

I would like to make a brief personal statement.

My country, Switzerland, was attacked by Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO earlier and I would like to respond briefly on behalf of the Swiss delegation that I chair. I will be very brief.

Mister President, please,

Mr. Oleksii GONCHARENKO has attacked several countries by talking about weapons he allegedly discovered in a tank in Ukraine. In particular, he criticised Switzerland by saying that he had discovered who knows what type of element in this tank coming from Switzerland. I am the Chairman of the Swiss delegation: I would like to point out here that the Swiss law on embargoes has been applied since 2014 and provides for a ban on the export of weapons to countries at war, namely Ukraine and Russia.

Therefore, if Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO found such items, either they are from before 2014, that was another world, or they are from after and it would be an illegal export, in which case I would ask him to send us facts and salient items so that we can investigate - or else not to make such accusations in this House.


Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Mister COTTIER, for your explanation.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


That now concludes the list of speakers.

I call Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, the rapporteur, to reply.

You have 5 minutes.

Mister Bob van PAREREN?

Mr Bob van PAREREN

Netherlands, EC/DA


Yes, thank you, Mister Chairman.

There's also a point of order. I don't appreciate that you come with comments when Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO is not in the room.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Sorry, Mister Bob van PAREREN. This is not a point of order.

There is the right if a delegation thinks that it has not been treated in a correct way, the Rules allow to make a short declaration.

Now Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO is not in the room. That was the decision of Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO. The debate is still ongoing.

Sorry that this is not a point of order.

Mister Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, you have the floor.

Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ

Switzerland, SOC, Rapporteur


Thank you, Mister President.

Many thanks to all the speakers in this great debate.

I would like to make a few comments and then a personal note at the end.

Mr Miroslav ŽIAK asked a question to know if we had had contacts with international organisations. You should know that here, in the Council of Europe, we have very close relations with the UNHCR, in particular Mr Wissner who is the representative of the UNHCR to our Assembly. That, on the spot, we saw people from the UNHCR. We had a lot of contacts with the IOM, the International Organization for Migration, which really coached us, if you will, in Slovakia. There were also contacts, it seems to me, with the OSCE, but it was in fact administrative.

Some remarks were made which are also very obvious, in particular the remark of Mr Antón GÓMEZ-REINO from Spain, who said clearly, and this is obvious: we must not forget the other migrants. It is true that I am sincerely happy that our continent has had the essential noble attitude towards the Ukrainian people that all our countries have shown. Yet it is also true that, having been on the Committee on Migration for years, I have to admit that there are a few double standards. It is true that there was also a war in Syria or elsewhere, and we did not have the same attitudes.

Mr José María SÁNCHEZ GARCÍA, also from Spain, I believe, said that we were mixing everything up, that there were multiple causes for the conflicts. What is certain is that in the conflicts, the victims are the same. They are human beings, men, women, children, people who are waiting and hoping for protection from all our countries.

Ms Petra STIENEN spoke about something very important. It is precisely this importance of the role of local authorities. This is the meaning of the proposal we are making with the Congress of Local Authorities to imagine a twinning bank in our country, a twinning exchange in the whole of Europe to allow local authorities in Ukraine to have contacts with local authorities in all our countries. I spoke about it to one of the persons in charge of the Swiss cities, who is one of our Swiss parliamentary colleagues here, and who, indeed, found the idea excellent. It is necessary to create contacts because in proximity, things are possible.

Ms Lise CHRISTOFFERSEN from Norway, I believe, said something important. We, as parliamentarians, have an essential role to play with our parliaments to relay these proposals, to ensure that all our countries get involved.

I will end with a small personal remark. My greatest emotion in Ukraine, in fact, took place in Košice, in Slovakia. We had the opportunity to visit a camp where migrants were being taken care of, and we went to see a psychologist who was there. there, being a doctor, I asked her if she had any children's drawings. I know a little about interpreting children's drawings, and I saw, I think, the worst drawing of my life. It was a 5/6-year-old who had drawn, basically, a black sky, and then there was a tree. The tree was dark brown and there were no leaves. That, I promise you, is an expression of great suffering. Fortunately, next to it, there were children's drawings as we see them, with flowers, with animals, with a big sun, even several suns. What is always important is how the parents feel and how they transmit it to the children. But these are strong emotions that show how much trauma this war will create. There will be aftermath.

There are huge needs to help these people, to help these children, to make the unbearable a little less unbearable.

Thank you for your attention.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you. 

Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, the rapporteur, to reply – you too have 5 minutes.


Ukraine, EPP/CD, Rapporteur


I've made a lot of notes.

Let me start from the very end.

Switzerland has helped recently. My home city was sent 270 tons of food. It was a private company, Zurich Insurance, but I just want to make sure that we highly appreciate the humanitarian aid. It is not every country who can deliver military support; we do know that.

Following the comments, dear colleagues, you were very precise. That makes me feel so warm-hearted because you have read the report, and you went through the very core of it. I'm very thankful for you to underline in that among the something that report is suggesting there is a kinship care, foster care, supervised independent living arrangements, small group care, last support, and suitable residential care.

Of course, we understand nothing will replace a family for a child. The foster care in the framework of a family is the most appropriate one.

My notes are saying that many of you were focusing on appropriate strategies of the child treatment. Of course, the aging issue here is very important, because, you know, the assessments which are being done by international organisations – and this is a question my fellow colleagues from Slovakia are answering –  what international organisations are doing. We definitely need to strengthen them with the civil society and your representatives, because the margin of the aging can be up to five years. Identifying whether this child is 16 or 21 is already a big gap.

I would also like to thank Mr Jacques LE NAY, who mentioned the European Development Bank. Definitely, the resources and the financing are at the core of it, because we are using the taxpayers' money of the honourable member States that have to be used very efficiently. We, of course, follow the further developments with the so-called BIC approach, so the Best Interest of the Child. Of course, this instrument existed before, and we want to elaborate a little bit more on that.

Thank you for bringing up again, Mister CALLEARY from Ireland, the story of the girl from Kharkiv. Indeed, the children, as we sit right now, and adults are currently under the rockets and attacks also elsewhere around Ukraine.

Very important comments were coming from our colleagues from Mexico and Canada as well, underlining and emphasising the role also of the non-government sector. The governments are doing a great job, but the non-government sector also has a pivotal role here.

Of course, I should also mention the diaspora association role, because many of those who are temporarily located trying to help those children on the ground, as I said in our side event, are for instance teachers or psychologists from such countries as Ukraine.

Not to forget why the geography which I was talking about Syria, Afghanistan, even Chechnya, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, those are countries which have recently, I mean, the more than recent history of our subcontinent were suffering from major waves of children migrant, unaccompanied children, and refugee children. You know, colleagues, guess what? The cause of it was one former member State of this institution: the Russian Federation, who deliberately used our common interest to mislead you. As of today, we have to deal with such different cases such as child protection and education for all.

Colleagues, even though Mr Paul GAVAN has mentioned that humanitarian donations are decreasing, I am sure and we see it in very concrete examples, that your member States are doing everything possible so that childcare and education are continuing but also with a very specific humanitarian action.

I would also like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, for actually coming into those small towns and cities which are beyond their capacities in Ukraine and are trying to deliver everything they can.

Colleagues, a big thanks to all of you who are staying as of 7:00 p.m. today discussing Ukraine and beyond, because children are not our future. Children are our today.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Madam rapporteur.

And now, I call Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK to reply and you too have 5 minutes.

Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK

Ukraine, ALDE, Rapporteur


Yes, thank you, I will be much quicker than that because I understand it has been a long debate.

I thank you for your contribution to this debate. It is very important for all that you said, and moreover, it is even more important what you did for Ukraine and other countries that experienced such tragedies as war of aggression. And about the topic that I was carrying in my resolution and my report, I would like to say, that having women at the table of negotiations means not just because women have to be there or just to put a checkbox, women need to have a high role in political life and then they will be at all the tables – business, economy, reconstruction, everything. So that is the key and that is core to that and I really thank those men who spoke on these topics because you know it is very often the case when the topic is gender equality, only women in the room and only women contributing, so I really thank those men who think that this topic is important and has to be addressed.

And to conclude, I would like to address the comment of our Finnish colleague that he addressed about the amendment, you mentioned that you are against militarisation at all and the army, well, if we did not have an army what would not have only 20% of our territory occupied, we would have 100% of our territory occupied and we will not be staying there, so we thank our armed forces that defend our country, both women and men.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Madam Yevheniia KRAVCHUK.

We are not going to have, now, a continuation of the debate in the first row.

I now ask the Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons whether he wishes to speak.

That is the case.

You have 3 minutes.


Greece, EPP/CD, Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons


Thank you, Mister President.

Dear colleagues,

We are about to vote for extremely important and timely reports.

First of all, I would like to thank the rapporteurs for their rapid reaction, for their substantive work, and for having proposed realistic and to-the-point recommendations.

Madam Mariia MEZENTSEVA, you already said it when you were appointed for this report. You probably never thought that your own country would be faced with the most terrible aggression from the Russian Federation.

Thank you so much for having immediately re-orientated your work so that your report is relevant to these new tragic circumstances.

Mister Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, you also immediately reacted to the war in Ukraine by initiating a motion for a resolution which has led to the draft resolution that this Assembly is invited to vote right now. You travelled to Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Romania, and I very much value your first-hand feedback and recommendations.

Dear President,

I also thank the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, and its rapporteur Ms Sibel ARSLAN, for the constructive opinion and amendments.

Both Committees will surely find useful synergies for the follow-up to this report and this resolution.

Dear colleagues,

You might find that I took too long to congratulate our rapporteurs, but these reports are exactly what this Assembly should be doing. Providing concrete guidance to national parliaments and member states on difficult questions – really difficult questions.

Unfortunately, we do not know when the war will end but, we do know that collectively, within our respective limits we can help Ukraine and Ukrainians, vulnerable persons – including unaccompanied children and separated migrants – and refugee children, to have their rights respected. For this reason, I encourage all of you, dear colleagues, to wholeheartedly support the draft resolutions.

Thank you, Mister President.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you Mr Theodoros ROUSOPOULOS for your reaction.

Does the vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination wish to speak?

Mr Fourat BEN CHIKHA, you have 3 minutes.


Belgium, SOC, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination


Thank you, Mister President.

Dear colleagues,

We have just participated in a very intense and very dense debate on no less than three reports which were prepared in our Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

I'll start by congratulating all three rapporteurs for having worked quickly and efficiently to respond to the urgent concern of the moment.

It's another demonstration of the great capacity of reaction of our Assembly and of the Council of Europe itself.

It's flexible in responding to an emergency despite being the grandmother of international organisations.

As Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA told us, she changed the focus of her report in mid preparation.

Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK was finishing her fact-finding visit to the Hague of her report on the day before the Russian attack.

Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ prioritised his report above all other obligations to visit the country.

Thank you, all three of you, for your contributions.

In our Committee we follow the work of Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK on her report on justice and security for women and peace reconciliation.

She showed us by her research and also by her personal example that it is vital for women to be treated as equal in all parts of society at all levels.

Under only that condition can there be justice, equal access to rights, and prevention of violence - which is just another expression of the domination of who has kept power against who has not been empowered.

Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK's report shows that in peacetime as in war women need to be involved in decision making, around the tables and peace talks and given the confidence which leads to power sharing.

I know that her resolution will be adopted today.

What is needed for all of us is that we go back to our parliaments and put these recommendations into practice.

We need to use this text as a checklist for achieving equality, justice, and proper protection for women all over Europe and in all our interests.

Thank you very much.

Vote: Humanitarian consequences and internal and external migration in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine / Protection and alternative care for unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children / Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you for that.

The debate now is closed. I am glad that we could include all those on the speaker's list in the debate and I am proud of you that we were able to do so because you were disciplined in the participation in the debate.

The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons has presented a draft resolution, which you find in Document 15547 to which 13 amendments and one sub-amendment have been tabled.

Amendments to the resolution will be taken in the order in which they appear in the Compendium. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds. I understand that the Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons wishes to propose to the Assembly that apart from Amendment 10 and its sub-amendment which must be dealt with individually, all other amendments to the draft resolution which were unanimously approved by the Committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

Is that so Mister Theodoros ROUSOPOULOS?


Greece, EPP/CD, Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons


Yes, Mister President.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Does anybody object?

As that is not the case, there is no objection, I declare that apart from Amendment 10 and its sub-amendment, which must be dealt with individually, all other amendments to the draft resolution have been agreed.

That means that I can go to page 18. That helps a lot.

We now come to Amendment 10 with a sub-amendment.

First I call Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA to support Amendment 10.

You have 30 seconds, Mariia.


Ukraine, EPP/CD, Rapporteur


It's very simple. We just want to emphasise that the national authorities should facilitate the resolution of housing problems which have recently arisen in different member states – including the programmes which are already rolling – and we emphasise the programmes for the partially subsidised rental costs.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

I now call Mr Iulian BULAI to support the sub-amendment. You have 30 seconds, Iulian.

Mr Iulian BULAI

Romania, ALDE


I will of course support this Amendment with all the arguments that have been discussed until now.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

What is the opinion of the mover of the amendment?

I assume that you said yes.

Thank you very much, in favour. What is the opinion of the Committee on the sub-amendment? Mr Theodoros ROUSOPOULOS.


Greece, EPP/CD, Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons


The same with Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


I now shall put the sub-amendment to the vote.

The vote this open.

The vote is closed.

I call for the results to be displayed.

The sub-amendment is adopted.


We now have to consider the main Amendment.

Does anybody wish to speak against the Amendment as amended?

That is not the case.

So I now shall put the Amendment as amended to the vote.

The vote is open.

The vote is closed.

I call for the results to be displayed.

Amendment 10 as amended is adopted.


We now will proceed to vote on the draft resolution contained in Document 15547 as amended.

The vote is open.

The vote is closed.

Can we have the results to be displayed?

The Resolution is adopted unanimously.



The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons has presented a draft resolution in Document 15548, to which seven amendments have been tabled.

Amendments to the resolution will be taken in the order in which they appear in the compendium and speeches are limited to 30 seconds.

I understand that the Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 3, 4, 6 and 7 to the draft resolution, which were adopted unanimously by the Committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

Is that so, Mister Theodoros ROUSOPOULOS?


Greece, EPP/CD, Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons


 I fully agree, Mister President.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Does anybody object?

As there is no objection, I declare that Amendments 3, 4, 6 and 7 to the draft resolution have been agreed.

I now call Ms Luz MARTINEZ SEIJO to support Amendment 2. You have 30 seconds, Madam.


Spain, SOC


The amendment that I am planning to introduce is based on the right of education, access to education to migrant children, it is recognised in the International Convention, treaties and documents.

Therefore I think that member states cannot ignore it and therefore I think it's very important to introduce it - not only because of international law, but also because it is an essential right which will help these children to integrate much better and have access and the right to education which is a basic right.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Madam.

Does anybody wish to speak against the amendment?

I do not see anybody.

What is the opinion of the Committee?


Greece, EPP/CD, Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons


No, the Committee didn't take any position.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


There is no position of the Committee.

I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

The vote is closed.

May I have the results displayed.

The amendment is adopted.

I now call Ms Sibel ARSLAN to support Amendment 5 on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.


Switzerland, SOC, Rapporteur for opinion


The point of this motion is that we are proposing the deletion of the paragraph. This motion was also approved by our Committee. The point is that we already have several platforms within the Council of Europe where you can have exchanges and where you can talk about migration issues.

In order to be resource-efficient, I have suggested that we delete this paragraph but nevertheless, continue with the work. And therefore, it would be a focus, so that we can make the right instruments more effective.

I would ask you to follow that motion. Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Does anybody wish to speak against the amendment?



Ukraine, EPP/CD, Rapporteur


Yes, colleagues, in multiple interventions you have emphasised support to a European platform for exchange of knowledge. So the know-how practices are being born every day by the practices. And that's why we said we would like to suggest this platform for the extension of the existing mechanisms. And in our Committee we have supported the current text without deleting Paragraph 7.

Please, support.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Madam Mariia MEZENTSEVA.

What is the opinion of the Committee?


Greece, EPP/CD, Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons


Mister President, our Committee is against this amendment with a majority.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


The Committee is against the Amendment with a majority.

I shall now put the Amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

The vote is closed.

I call for the results to be displayed.

The Amendment is rejected.

I now call Ms Serap YAŞAR to support Amendment No. 1.

You have 30 seconds.

Ms Serap YAŞAR

Türkiye, NR


Thank you. 

I think we should act immediately to protect migrant and refugee children.

These are good examples and they should be mentioned because they can encourage other Member States to take similar protection measures for unaccompanied and separated migrant children.

In my country, there is a proverb that says: "the generosity that we can show is accompanied by positive practices." This means that good practices now will lead to other good practices in the future.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam.

Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ.

Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ

Switzerland, SOC, Rapporteur


Thank you, Mr President.

I would like to salute the effort made by Turkey, but I am thinking of all the people – all the anonymous people who have also worked, and who work regularly.

I think that it is, perhaps, not a good idea to personify with a specific case this effort which, in fact, belongs to all countries, to all communities.

I, therefore, propose that you abandon this proposal.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mister Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ.

What is the opinion of the Committee?


Greece, EPP/CD, Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons


 Mister President, the Committee is against this amendment.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


The Committee is against.

Then I shall put the amendment to the vote. 

The vote is open.

The vote is closed.

I call for the results to be displayed

The amendment is rejected.

We now proceed to vote on the draft resolution contained in Document 15548 as amended.

The vote is open.

The vote is closed.

I call for the results to be displayed.

The resolution is adopted unanimously.


The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination has presented a draft resolution that you will find in Document 15525 to which five amendments have been tabled.

Amendments to the resolution will be taken in the order in which they appear in the Compendium.

And I remind that speeches are limited to 30 seconds.

I understand that the Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, the vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 1, 3, 4 and 5 to the draft resolution which were adopted unanimously and the Committee should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

Is that so Mr Fourat BEN CHIKHA?

All five amendments have been adopted unanimously, yes.

Does anybody object?

All four have been adopted unanimously.

Does anybody object?

I do not see anybody so I declare that Amendments 1, 3, 4 and 5, which makes four in total, to the draft resolution have been agreed.

I have received an oral amendment from Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK which reads as follows, "in Paragraph 7, replace the words "the Assembly calls on national parliaments to" with the following words "the Assembly recalls on Council of Europe member states and national parliaments to".

If this amendment is agreed to, Amendment 2 falls.

The President, as you know, may accept an oral-amendment on the grounds of promoting clarity, accuracy or conciliation and if there is no opposition from 10 or more members to it being debated.

In my opinion the oral-amendment meets the criteria of Rule 34.7.a. Is there any opposition to the amendment being debated?

I do not see a lot of people raise? No, nobody stands.

So that is not the case and therefore I call Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK to support the oral-amendment. You have 30 seconds.

Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK

Ukraine, ALDE, Rapporteur


Dear Colleagues,

It's the compromise between me and the rapporteur for opinion to not be repetitive, but to keep the sense that Ms Boriana ÅBERG wanted to share.

So, please support this Oral Amendment.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam KRAVCHUK.

Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

That is not the case.

The Committee is obviously in favour.

I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.


The vote is closed.

May I ask for the results to be displayed?


The oral amendment is adopted unanimously. Therefore Amendment 2 falls.


We will now proceed to vote on the draft resolution contained in Doc. 15525 [as amended].

The vote is open.


The vote is closed.

May I ask for the results to be displayed?


The resolution is adopted unanimously.



Dear colleagues, thanks a lot for this fine debate.


The Assembly will hold its next public sitting tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. with the agenda which was approved on Monday morning.

The sitting is adjourned.



The sitting is closed at 7:20 p.m.

Next sitting on June, 23 at 10 a.m.