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23-02-22

Joint NGO statement on recent events in Ukraine

As civil society organisations, many of which are working for many years in Ukraine on human rights, democracy, rule of law and peace, we are shocked by the recent developments in Ukraine. We demand decisive actions from the international community to stop Russia from violating its obligations under international law and support Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Today, in light of the recent decision by the Russian Federation to recognise the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities, we express in the strongest possible terms our support to and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The actions of Russia, despite being a member of the UN, CoE and OSCE, constitute a grave breach of its obligations under international law and fundamental OSCE principles, according to which all UN Members and OSCE participating States are required to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of others.

The actions of Russia erode all efforts undertaken towards resolution of the conflict in the region, and turn the Minsk agreements obsolete. The recognition will only escalate the tensions and further deepen the crisis.

Violence is never the solution. We, the undersigned civil society organisations, condemn the step undertaken by the Russian authorities and demand all parties to invest in dialogue and peace, including support to civil society organisations and women’s rights in line with the UN Security Resolution 1325.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and our colleagues and friends who continue their human rights and humanitarian work in these harsh circumstances. We regard their struggle with great concern, and we are inspired by their commitment and resilience.

We urge the Russian authorities to reverse their decision, withdraw its military forces from the territory of Ukraine, reverse its military build-up on the territories around Ukraine, and bring their actions in line with the country’s commitments and obligations under international law, including those under humanitarian and human rights law.

We call on the EU and CoE Member States and their institutions, governments of the OSCE participating States, and OSCE institutions to take a strong stance and decisive actions, including sanctions, in support of the independence of Ukraine and peace in the region. In particular, we urge the governments to engage in cooperation through the mechanisms available within the OSCE framework as the bridge between West and East and the appropriate forum to address concerns of all interested parties with the purpose of achieving a sustainable political solution to the conflict in line with OSCE principles and commitments.

List of supporting organisations:

Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Foundation Max van der Stoel

Human Rights in Mental Health – FGIP

WECF International

PAX

CoC Netherlands

WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform

Justice & Peace Netherlands

Both ENDS