Ombudsman gives a speech at the screening of film about sex crimes of the Russian army in Ukraine

On Thursday, 16 February, the Embassy of Ukraine in Latvia organized the screening of the film about sex crimes of the Russian army in Ukraine, prepared by the Youth Centre of the Atlantic Council of Ukraine together with the National Academy of the Security Service of Ukraineand the Command of the Ground Forces of the Armed forces of Ukraine.

Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia gave a speech at the opening of the film screening.

War, Violence, Sexual Crime

Good afternoon,

Since the beginning of civilisation, people have lived in a society governed by the rights and values they have themselves accepted. Initially, they were the rights of the strongest, and later they transformed into values that are equally important for all members of society.

In the last century, after two world wars and the loss of a huge number of lives, the Geneva Convention recognised the prohibition of violence against civilians during the war as a common fundamental value. The principle was then recognised as a universal fundamental value also in peacetime and enshrined in various international norms and law.

Sexual offences against people who are objectively unable to protect themselves due to their age, gender or state of health are one of the cruellest forms of violence, since they target the more exposed and vulnerable members of society. Many countries have recognized that such violence does exist and declared it absolutely unacceptable.

Unfortunately, 80 years after the bloodiest war in human history, there are still countries that do not regard an attack on another country as an act of war and an attack on civilians – as a crime against humanity. It is also regrettable that there are still countries in Europe whose citizens feel that violence against civilians of another country is acceptable and look the other way when sexual crimes against vulnerable people are being committed.

In civilised society where the life and health of every person are held in the highest regard, such conduct must not be ignored, concealed or forgotten. From the human rights perspective, the positive obligation of each State is to take all possible steps to ensure that people who commit such exceptionally cruel and violent offences are held legally accountable.

Слава Україні! Героям Слава!