An open letter calling to protect Women of Ukraine from Russian aggression and its consequences
13 April 2022
We, women and men from all over the world, many of whom have lived through war, call on your proactive support of peace efforts in Ukraine as well as the protection of women, children, and other vulnerable groups as war victims.
On 24 February 2022, Russia started a comprehensive invasion of the sovereign territory of Ukraine, destroying cities and killing civilians. As in every war, women lose their safety network and become vulnerable and the chaos of war offers plenty of opportunities for gender-based violence. Since its invasion, Russia has been using rape as a war weapon. The whole world is mourning from shocking images of tortured civilians in Bucha and other towns near Kyiv many of whom have traces of rape and sexual violence. Captured Ukrainian women soldiers experienced inhuman treatment by Russian army, were forced to get naked and were interrogated. Ukrainian women report attempts of sex trade and human trafficking near the borders of the EU countries accepting refugees. The war has led to the tragedy of broken families, lost and injured family members putting an additional burden on women as caregivers.
We offer the following concrete steps to mitigate the consequences of war on women and children who suffered from Russian aggression:
- Ensuring protection of women and girls in the war zones from rape and sexual assault as well as providing victim advocacy and protection to rape survivors.
- Creating structures and mechanisms to investigate allegations, address the harm done to the victims, and seek accountability of those responsible for that harm. Ensure cooperation between countries that have the necessary expertise in tackling rape and gender violence in conflict.
- Protecting Ukrainian women and children refugees from human trafficking in the accepting EU and non-EU countries; investigating existing cases and bringing to justice the involved organizations and individuals.
- Demanding meaningful participation of women in peacebuilding efforts from both sides and at all levels, particularly in decision making as well as the full and overarching implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security.
- Ensuring that post-war reconstruction in Ukraine takes place in a participatory manner, taking into account gender perspectives, voices, and particular needs of women and children.
Ukrainian people have shown tremendous courage and resistance in defending their country, as well as support and solidarity with those who happened to be on the front line. We thank the EU countries for providing asulum and humanitarian support to Ukrainian citizens seeking security from war. However, more efforts from the democratic community all over the worldare are needed to protect Ukrainians from Russia’s military aggression which is a violation global peace and security, human rights, and international order. We call the world leaders to address and investigate the war crimes against women, children, and the people in Ukraine.
Professional Government Association of Ukraine supports #KyivDeclaration! https://kyivdeclaration.org/
Putin has unleashed a bloody war on the people of Ukraine. Our hospitals, schools and homes have been bombed, our streets filled with tanks, our sons and daughters shot. Why? Because we stood up to authoritarianism and chose a better life. We chose democracy. We chose freedom.
As our nation takes up arms to defend our homes and our families, we, as leaders of over 100 Ukrainian civil society organisations, have come together with six urgent appeals to the international community.
#StandWithUkraine by sharing on social media. As civil society leaders, our lives have been dedicated to fighting for what is right. But today, we must fight for our lives.
This is not just a war against Ukraine, it is a war against the fundamental principles of democracy. A great iron chain is being drawn across Europe, that Putin hopes will sink any society that he believes strays too far into the light.
We are fighting with everything we can, but we cannot win with courage and conviction alone. We need help. And we need it now. We ask the international community to stand with Ukraine by taking the following actions