Marking the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor: joint statement to the OSCE Ministerial Council 2023

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the following 43 participating States:

Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and EU Delegation.  

Mr. Chair, recalling the Joint Statement on the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor of 1932 -1933, delivered at the 15th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council, and the Resolution of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly of 2008, we commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine.

During the Holodomor, the cruel actions and policies of the Stalinist regime caused brutal and prolonged mass starvation, killing millions of innocent people in Ukraine. 

We honour the memory of the victims of this tragedy inflicted upon the people of Ukraine. Given the OSCE commitment in the 1990 Copenhagen Document to “clearly and unequivocally condemn totalitarianism”, we once again underline the importance of raising public awareness of the tragic events of our common past, of promoting tolerance and non-discrimination, and of strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for the prevention of human tragedies in the future.

We acknowledge the efforts undertaken in recent years to educate the public about the Holodomor and in the OSCE participating States as well as in the United Nations and its specialized agencies. We recognize the adoption on 1 November 2007 of the relevant UNESCO Resolution by 193 Member States. We are determined to take part in relevant events and invite all OSCE participating States to do the same, given the crucial role the OSCE plays in the promotion of respect for human rights and dignity.  

We urge participating States to promote the dissemination of information, to educate on the Holodomor in Ukraine and memorialize it as a dark chapter in world history. Telling the truth about history honours the victims, acknowledges their suffering, and highlights the heroism of those who resisted these totalitarian crimes. Memorialization also promotes accountability for despots whose policies impose catastrophes, with contempt for the humanity of those affected. Within their national frameworks to promote remembrance and education about the tragedy certain participating States have recognized the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine as a state-induced campaign of starvation, while a number of participating States or their legislative branches of government have recognized the Holodomor as genocide.

For decades the Holodomor—an appalling act of inhumanity—was suppressed and denied by the Soviet Union. Today, there are ongoing attempts by the Russian Federation to glorify Stalinism and deny the Holodomor and other atrocities committed by the communist regime, including through the persecution of all those individuals and organisations who have sought to expose such Soviet era atrocities. 

We express our grave concern about the repetition of the unconscionable actions of the past. Today, the Kremlin is again attempting to subjugate the people of Ukraine by force. It is once again using food as a weapon, not just against Ukraine, but also against many countries over the world, by restricting Ukraine’s food exports which are crucial for global food security. Today, Russia’s aggression is accompanied by Stalinist methods of dehumanization campaigns, mass atrocities, cruel filtration procedures, forcible transfers and deportations, including of children, and practices to deny, suppress and punish expressions of Ukrainian identity.

All this is aimed at breaking the will of the Ukrainian people and subjugating the sovereign state of Ukraine. We reiterate our commitment to bring all those responsible to account for the sake of justice and peace, as well as for the prevention of such atrocities and abuses. 

We commend Ukraine’s initiatives to ensure global food supplies despite attempts by the Russian Federation to weaponize food, by restricting Ukraine’s food exports, thus undermining global food security, and threatening the supplies people worldwide depend on. We strongly deplore the Russian Federation’s theft and destruction of Ukrainian agricultural products, equipment, and infrastructure as well as the Russian Federation’s efforts to prevent Ukrainian food from reaching the most vulnerable populations around the world.

Mr Chair, the 90th anniversary of the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine serves as a powerful reminder about the dangers of autocratic regimes. The history of the Holodomor also reminds us of our common responsibility to defend the cause of humanity and our shared respect for human life.

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