Ukraine – UAI Statement

Kyiv, Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine; February 24 2022 (Shutterstock). Explosions in Kiev as Putin orders attacks and a land invasion begins.

UAI Statement on Ukraine

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has developed into a full-scale armed conflict, with missiles landing in major Ukrainian cities, UAI calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and serious negotiations for a long-term solution.

While the fighting continues, UAI calls for civilian lives to be protected at all costs in accordance with the norms governing the conduct of warfare.

In recent years in the Central African Republic, Chechnya, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, Russian forces and military groups operating on Russia’s behalf have been accused of gross violations of International Humanitarian Law. The Russian government has so far been hostile to all efforts that demand accountability and transparency regarding the conduct of these forces. Consequently, the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces may be expected to pose a serious risk of similar war crimes. UAI is concerned that civilians and wounded combatants will be subjected to extreme ordeals.

While the fighting rages, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and nationals of other countries residing in Ukraine have been seeking sanctuary in neighbouring European countries. The rapid and welcoming response of these countries is laudable. However…

UAI has been shocked to hear of border guards in these countries blatantly discriminating against nationals, such as students, migrant workers, and refugees from countries beyond Europe. Such discrimination is shameful and totally unacceptable.

UAI demands that the Russian and Ukrainian governments:

  • Declare an immediate cease-fire and engage in serious negotiations for a long-term solution.
  • While the fighting continues, refrain from all hostilities in residential and civilian-populated areas; avoid all attacks on civilian infrastructure essential for survival and pre-empt the avoidable loss of life and destruction of property.
  • Allow access to humanitarian aid organisations to all areas where civilians are in need.
  • Respect the right of local and international media to cover the conflict without restrictions and ensure the safety of journalists.
  • Strictly comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and all relevant international standards for transparency and accountability regarding civilian harm.

UAI urges other governments, the United Nations, its partners, the Red Cross Movement, and other relief organisations to:

  • Condemn incidents of deliberate attacks against civilians and their objects, and put in place an international and independent investigative mechanism to record and report such incidents, so that those responsible may be prosecuted.
  • Put in place a comprehensive humanitarian plan to meet the needs of conflict-affected people and allow the visa-free arrival of refugees in countries, ensuring that all those fleeing the conflict are received without any discrimination on grounds of nationality or ethnicity.
  • Create a framework for an ‘atrocity prevention’ strategy to avoid the repeat in Ukraine of the situation in Syria and elsewhere, in consultation with civilian protection advocates and human rights experts, including Protection Approaches (Urgent statement on the situation in Ukraine)
  • Work with relevant organizations to prevent the use of social media platforms to disseminate hate speech and disinformation.

UAI calls upon its supporters and partners to express their solidarity with all civilians in countries affected by war. Silence in the face of brutality strengthens those who flout the law and deny our common humanity. Solidarity among people is the most powerful tool against authoritarianism and repression.

To see suggestions for actions you can take regarding Ukraine, see UAI’s Note on Resources How to support Ukraine

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