War against Ukraine - Statements by EPDE Members
Democracy defenders across Europe have been shocked by Russia’s attack on democratic and independent Ukraine. Within the EPDE, members have issued statements of solidarity and support for our Ukrainian colleagues. We have collected some of these here.
We, the undersigned civil society organizations from Georgia and Ukraine, believe that Russia's ongoing military invasion of Ukraine represents an unprovoked and unjustified aggression against a sovereign state, and is an attempt to dismantle European and Global Security architecture, which requires the strongest possible response of the international community. Ukraine today demonstrates a remarkable example of courage fighting with one of the most powerful military machines in the World, and it is the duty of the Democratic world, to stand up for Ukraine in this uneven battle.
Georgia has also fallen a victim of Russian aggression in 2008, and Putin’s regime largely got away with it. What we witness today, is to a large extent, a result of that very lenience of the West back then. The Democratic World cannot afford making the same mistake again and it should adequately respond to this flagrant aggression in the heart of Europe.
We, Georgian and Ukrainian civil society representatives, would like to call on the Civil Society representatives globally, to join our address to all governments of the World to respond in a strict, unified and a forceful way to this brazen and criminal act of Russia. In the circumstances when innocent lives are being lost and infrastructure and economy of the country is being destroyed there is no time for half-measures. The Putin’s regime should pay a severe price for these crimes.
Therefore, we call on the governments of the democratic world to:
- Impose strongest possible measures against Russian Federation, with the aim to force it to cease military actions as soon as possible
- Continue increasing defense capabilities of Ukraine, including providing anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems, and ensuring Ukraine’s air defense through other means, including establishing and enforcing no-fly zones above certain parts of Ukrainian territory under Kiev's control as requested by President Zelenskyy
- Provide financial and humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine, inside and outside the country
- Enact welcoming conditions to refugees from Ukraine
We believe that Ukraine is fighting this war for the whole continent and the democratic world, and it is our duty to show support to the heroic people of Ukraine. The time to act is now!
- Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia)
- International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
- Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)
- Institute for Democracy and Safe Development (IDSD)
- Society and Banks
- Georgian Farmers Association
- Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC)
- Green Alternative
- Atlantic Council of Georgia
- Media Development Foundation (MDF)
- Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS)
- Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)
- In Depth Reporting and Economic analysis Center
- Governance Monitoring Centre (GMC)
- Pen Georgia
- Europe Foundation
- Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
- World Experience for Georgia (WEG)
- Human Rights Center (HRC)
- United Nations Association of Georgia (UNAG)
- Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)
- Leberal Academy
- Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
- The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics
- Rights Georgia
- Georgian Media Club
- Coalition for Local Self-Government and Democracy
- International Center for Civic Culture
- Center of Local Democracy Network
- International Association Civitas Georgica
- Management systems’ development center
- Journalism Resource Center – JRC
- Gori Information Centre
- Union of Democrat Meskhs – UDM
- Independent Journalists' House
- Democratic Development Union of Georgia
- Transparency International Ukraine (TI Ukraine)
- East Europe Foundation (EEF) Ukraine
- Centre for Innovation Development (CID) Ukraine
- Center for Sustainable Development Initiatives - CSDI
- All-Ukrainian Association of Organizations for People with Disabilities “The league of the strong” («The League of the strong»)
- CO "CF "Caritas-Kyiv"
- Centre of United Actions (Centre UA)
- Center civil initiatives TIRA
- Social sinergy NGO
- All-Ukrainian NGO Coalition for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (NGO Coalition)
- Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities "Djerela" ("Djerela" Association)
- Charitable Organization "100 % of life. Kyiv region"
- Charitable Organization "School-Steps"
- Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health
- Health Right International
- Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law
- Public Organization “Social Synergy”
- Public Organization “Ukrainian Child Rights Network”
- Public Organization “Family for Persons with Disability”
- ICO CF SOS Children's Villages International Ukraine
We, the undersigned organisations, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but particularly Ukrainian journalists who now find themselves at the frontlines of a large-scale European war. We unilaterally condemn the violence and aggression that puts thousands of our colleagues all over Ukraine in grave danger. We call on the international community to provide any possible assistance to those who are taking on the brave role of reporting from the war zone that is now Ukraine. We condemn the physical violence, the cyberattacks, disinformation and all other weapons employed by the aggressor against the free and democratic Ukrainian press. We also stand in solidarity with independent Russian media who continue to report the truth in unprecedented conditions.
Join the statement of support for Ukraine by signing it here.
Justice for Journalists Foundation
Index on Censorship
International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech “Adil Soz”
International Media Support (IMS)
Yerevan Press Club
Free Press Unlimited
Human Rights Center "Viasna"
Albanian Helsinki Committee
Media Rights Group, Azerbaijan
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom
Association of European Journalists
School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in Central Asia
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Reporters Without Borders, RSF
Association of Independent Press of Moldova, API
Public Association “Dignity”, Kazakhstan
Human Rights House Foundation, Norway
UNITED for Intercultural Action
Human Rights House Yerevan
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly - Vanadzor, Armenia
Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, Norway
Society of Journalists, Warsaw
The Swedish OSCE-network
Hungarian Helsinki Committee
Legal policy research centre, Kazakhstan
Public Foundation Notabene - Tajikistan
HR NGO “Citizens’ Watch - St. Petersburg, Russia
Public organization “Dawn” - Tajikistan
International Press Institute (IPI)
The Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan
Human Rights House Tbilisi
Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center. Azerbaijan
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
European Federation of Journalists
Social Media Development Center, Georgia
Populus Rei, Georgia
Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center joins more than 50 international civil society organisations voicing support for and expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine and journalists who undertook the duty of reporting from the war zone in these trying times. The abusive tool and weapons such as massive cyberattacks and physical violence etc. aggressor applies to mute the free and independent Ukrainian media is condemned by signatories
Read the full statement here
24 February 2022 - Corruption fuels conflict and insecurity globally, and we are now seeing its effects acutely in the case of Russia and Ukraine.
Leading democracies have facilitated this conflict by allowing kleptocrats to further their interests and power across the West. Just last week, Transparency International reported on a German state foundation secretly controlled by Russian gas company Gazprom and acting in support of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Daniel Eriksson, Transparency International CEO said:
“In a system without checks and balances, Russian elites are emboldened to act against international law, now beginning a war in which thousands of lives may be lost. Corruption kills, and governments around the world have a responsibility to address the root causes of such conflicts.
“For too long, leading economies have turned a blind eye to dirty Russian money for fear of standing up to powerful economic interests. Secrecy laws and lack of oversight from authorities have allowed the Russian elite to hide their wealth, funding corruption back home and abroad.
“The West can no longer allow its financial systems to enable dirty money flows around the globe and especially in Russia. Now is the time for governments to put a full stop to the dirty money that fuels corruption and conflict.”
As we face a global crisis that threatens to kill thousands, Transparency International call for leading economies to address corruption exacerbating this conflict and democratic decline.
Kleptocrats hide their wealth behind anonymous companies and rely on complicit banks, corporate services and real estate agents in Western countries to move it around as they wish. Leading economies must enforce existing rules to stop now the flows of money funding oligarchs and their attacks on the peoples of Ukraine, Russia and beyond. Equally urgent is a concerted effort to locate and freeze assets that could be connected to corrupt Russian officials in bank accounts and invested across the globe.
For more on Transparency International’s recommendations to stop the flow of dirty money see here: https://www.transparency.org/en/our-priorities/dirty-money
We condemn Russia’s military aggression against the people of Ukraine. War is the most barbaric way to deprive people of their rights. Through these aggressive actions, the Russian Federation has flagrantly violated international law and exposed to risk and violence not only the Ukrainian people and the international community, but also its own citizens.
In these conditions, the Promo-LEX Association expresses its readiness to provide assistance to the national authorities, but also to the Ukrainian citizens who are in dire need of help.
We call on international organizations to take all necessary action under international law to stop Russia’s aggression immediately. The response of international organizations and the community must include measures to discourage and sanction the aggressor state, but especially to protect the rights and civil liberties of the people of Ukraine.
In these difficult times, as never before in the last thirty years, it is important that all citizens of the Republic of Moldova, but also all political forces alike, show unity, solidarity, calm and responsibility.
At the same time, we urge the media in the Republic of Moldova to refrain from distributing false news, hate speech, propaganda, to combat misinformation and to report correctly and responsibly the topics related to the crisis in the region, using official sources of information. The information space of the Republic of Moldova must be secured urgently.
It is important that the authorities of the Republic of Moldova communicate continuously with its citizens, but also with civil society, in order to provide information on the measures taken at national level in the context of the announced exceptional situation.
Democracy, diplomacy and human rights must be a priority for the entire international community, but also for the authorities of the Republic of Moldova. Today’s realities have exposed our civilization to an enormous humanitarian crisis, and its outcome depends on the actions of each of us.
War, throughout human history, has been the most heinous means of upholding national interests. In our century, the century of reason and common sense, we must oppose this barbaric and inhuman practice and defend, at all costs, democracy and fundamental human rights.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and express our full support for their endurance in these extremely difficult times.
On February 24, 2022, the military forces of the Russian Federation began an invasion of Ukraine. This is called by Russian Federation a “special operation”, but we must be blunt: a war has begun, and Russia is an aggressor country, while Belarus has been involved in this war as an aggressor’s ally.
The Belarusian human rights community is convinced that the actions of the Russian Federation are unfounded and inadequate, they are morally indefensible.
This is not just a war with Ukraine, but a challenge to the entire civilized world and the world must take urgent and effective measures to counter this aggression.
The Belarusian human rights community firmly protests against Russian aggression and demands an immediate cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine and Belarus.
We stand strongly opposed to the use of weapons to solve existing problems in relations between states. Such actions will obviously lead to a humanitarian crisis, human casualties, and a general deterioration of the human rights situation.
Belarusian human rights defenders call on the governments of all countries and all international institutions to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian civil society, to take effective and efficient measures to counter Russian aggression, and resolve the situation in the region.
We express our solidarity and support to the Ukrainian people in their struggle for sovereignty and standing up for their principles.
Belarusian House of Human Rights
Human Rights Center Viasna
Identity and Law
Belarusian Association of Journalists
Belarusian Helsinki Committee
February 27, 2022
In connection with the ongoing participation of the Republic of Belarus in providing conditions for waging an aggressive war against Ukraine from its territory, and with information being received by Viasna about the preparation of deploying armed forces of the Republic of Belarus to take part in military actions on the territory of Ukraine, we appeal to the authorities and citizens of Belarus and would like to recall:
The peoples of our planet have a sacred right to peace. It is a fundamental obligation of every State to preserve and promote the right of peoples to peace. Ensuring the exercise of the right of peoples to peace requires that the policies of States be oriented towards eliminating the threat of war, especially nuclear war; eliminating the use of force in interstate relations, and resolving international disputes by peaceful means on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations.
In accordance with Article 18 of the Constitution, the Republic of Belarus's foreign policy shall be guided by the principles of equality of states, non-use of force or threat of force, inviolability of borders, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs, and other universally recognized principles and norms of international law. The Republic of Belarus aims to be a nuclear-free and neutral state.
Ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus, the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus provides that the parties build their relations on mutual respect, trust and agreement, guided by the principles of respect for state sovereignty, equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other, non-use of force or threat of force, including economic and other. Under the treaty, each party undertakes to refrain from engaging in or supporting any action directed against the other and to prevent the use of its territory to the detriment of the other's security interests.
The law “On the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus” excludes their use for waging aggressive war, defining as tasks the Armed Forces the armed defense of the Republic of Belarus and the repulsion of attacks under any strategic situation, both independently and in cooperation with the armed forces of allies.
Under such conditions, we declare that the Belarusian authorities, while continuing an unprecedented crackdown on civil society in their own country, are pursuing a foreign policy that contradicts the Constitution and the law. This policy not only enables participation in the aggression of the Russian Federation, but also may soon directly involve citizens of Belarus in an unjust bloody war on the territory of a neighboring state, with which we are connected by good-neighboring legal, long-term historical, economic, and cultural ties.
Coercing the Belarusian military to carry out unconstitutional, clearly violating the law orders is a crime. At the same time, given the deep legal crisis in Belarus, military personnel who refuse to carry out obviously illegal orders may face criminal prosecution.
In this connection, we call on the Belarusian authorities to return to the constitutional and treaty framework of relations with states; to stop participating in the escalation of international tensions and refuse to take part in the war; to make every possible effort to end Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. We also declare that the military personnel's refusal to take part in a war of aggression should be regarded exclusively as the exercise of their constitutional civil rights.
No to War!