Statement on the situation in Ukraine - MH 17

  • Transcript, E&OE
22 July 2014

JULIE BISHOP Thank you, Mr President.

The adoption of this resolution is a decisive step by the Security Council. It is an unambiguous response from the international community to an utterly deplorable act – the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board, including 80 children.

The passengers were citizens of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines and the United Kingdom. These Governments have all co-sponsored this resolution today. For that I am deeply grateful. A number of victims were dual nationals of other countries. They were all innocent people, on a commercial aircraft. Their plane was shot down, over territory controlled by separatists in eastern Ukraine. This is an absolute outrage.

Our nation is devastated by the loss of so many Australians – thirty seven people who called Australia home. They were travelling home from Europe.

A couple, both teachers, on holiday to celebrate their retirement. A 25 year old, travelling in Europe, like so many young Australians do. Yesterday I spoke to a husband and wife from Perth who had been on a family holiday in Europe. They had decided to stay on for only a couple of days, while their three children – aged 12, 10 and 8 - had to return to school in Australia, so they went on ahead with their grandfather on flight MH17. The parents are inconsolable in their grief.

Among the victims were: scientists; medical researchers and doctors, who were travelling to Melbourne for the International AIDS Conference which began yesterday; people who had dedicated their lives to helping others.

Our nation mourns the death of all the victims. I cannot begin to fathom the pain and anguish their family and friends are experiencing. But grief is now accompanied by outrage as we witness grotesque violations at the crash site. This demands a response. That is why Australia has brought this resolution to the Security Council. Today, the Security Council has responded.

Our resolution demands that armed groups in control of the crash site provide safe access immediately to allow for the recovery of the bodies, and that these armed groups stop any actions that compromise the integrity of the crash site. This is imperative.

There must be a ceasefire in the immediate area around the site. The victims must be treated with dignity, brought back to their homes and laid to rest. All parties are required to fully cooperate with these efforts. Russia must use its influence over the separatists to ensure this. Russia must also use its influence to bring the conflict in Ukraine to an end.

Our resolution also demands a full, thorough and independent international investigation into this act. We must have answers. We must have justice. We owe it to the victims and their families to determine what happened and who was responsible.

The resolution acknowledges the investigations already under way. It demands that safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the crash site be provided so the investigating authorities can carry out their work. It is despicable that this access is not being provided. It is an affront to the victims and their families. All states, armed groups - everyone - must cooperate with the investigation.

We welcome the UN Secretary-General's offer of assistance to the investigation. The United Nations will continue to have a crucial role.

Mr President, the message from this Council to those who were responsible for this atrocity is definitive – you will be held to account for your actions.

Australia will continue to do everything we can to ensure this barbaric act is thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators are brought to justice.

We have an overriding objective – to ensure dignity, respect and justice for those killed on MH17. We will not rest until this is done. We will not rest until we bring them home.

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